A look at some short and long term sleepers from LA, Minnesota, Montreal, and Nashville.
This series has been published over the past few months, team-by-team, in the daily ramblings. In Part IV, we look at a short (next season) and long term sleeper for LA, Minnesota, Montreal, and Nashville.
Since many of these write-ups were done last month (or before), not everything will be completely up-to-date from a timing perspective. I went back and changed what I could, and hopefully nothing slipped through the cracks.
Los Angeles Kings
2013-14 sleeper pick: Tyler Toffoli
Toffili is pretty well known to DobberHockey regulars. He is one of the most offensively skilled prospects in hockey, and the Kings are going to give him a shot to earn a top six role next season. He is learning the left wing, as Dustin Penner is likely headed to the open market, and the team moved Simon Gagne to Philly a few months ago. If Toffoli gets on a line with Carter/Richards or Kopitar/Brown, he should be in the rookie scoring race.
Long term sleeper pick: Linden Vey
Like Toffili, Vey is a phenomenal offensive talent who dominated the CHL ranks before turning pro. He made some big strides in the AHL this season (his second year as a pro), and he finished with 67 points in 74 regular season games for Manchester.
He may be in tough to earn a roster spot in the immediate future, but he also has top six upside. Good hands, good speed, phenomenal hockey sense. These guys usually find a way to make it.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Zack Phillips
I was going to give Charlie Coyle some props here, but I think he is pretty well known at this point. Phillips projects as the ideal number two or three center behind Koivu/Granlund. He's crafty, skilled, and he reads the game really well. He's not physical and not the fleetest of foot, but again, his hockey sense is terrific.
His numbers weren't great as a rookie pro (eight goals and 27 points in 71 games), and he may not get a full time spot out of camp next year. However, the Wild have to cut some salary, and inserting a few rookies into the lineup may be the way to go. If he can handle third line minutes, he could be their guy.
Long term sleeper pick: Erik Haula
The leading scorer at Minnesota this past season (51 points in 3