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 37 games), Haula made his pro debut with the Houston Aeros recently, and finished with two points in six regular season games (and two more in five postseason games). He's not very big, but he has a ton of offensive ability. The Wild are very deep up front, with Coyle, Granlund, Phillips, Bulmer, Zucker, Haula, and a few more guys, too.
Like many Finnish forwards, Haula is scrappy and works very, very hard. Could be suited for a third line wing spot in the future, with some decent peripheral numbers.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Nathan Beaulieu
The smooth-skating defenseman has immense offensive upside. He checked in at #6 on my recent keeper league defensive prospects rankings. He'll be in tough to earn a