A Look Around the NHL: Short and Long Term Sleepers (Part VI)

Dobber Sports






A look at some short and long term sleepers from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, and Tampa Bay.


This series has been published over the past few months, team-by-team, in the daily ramblings. In Part VI, we look at a short (next season only) and long term (next three or four years) sleeper for the Flyers, Penguins, Blues, Sharks, and Lightning.

Since many of these write-ups were done over the past few months, 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.


Philadelphia Flyers

2013-14 sleeper pick – Erik Gustafsson

For a team with issues breaking the puck out of their own zone, the Flyers will need all of the puck movers they can get this season. Gustafsson is exactly that – he won't score a ton of goals or make the highlight reels with a big hit, but he's a steady and mobile two-way defenseman who doesn't cost a lot of money against the salary cap. When the inevitable injury hits Andrej Meszaros again, there could be a top four spot with his name on it. He had three goals and eight points in 27 games with the Flyers in 2013. Very respectable production for a rookie defenseman. 


The Mark Streit signing will take away from some of Gustafsson’s power play ice time, but he should still find a way to chip in offensively as a regular.

Long term sleeper pick – Jason Akeson

Akeson is older than most prospects (23), but don't hold that against him. He led the Flyers AHL affiliate in scoring in 2012-13 with 20 goals and 53 points, and as the team looks to get younger and cheaper, he could find himself in the top nine this season. The offense may not come right away, but that is his game and the Flyers will put him in a position to produce.



2013-14 sleeper pick – Beau Bennett

Bennett is an obvious choice here – it isn't likely that Morrow/Iginla/Dupuis will all be back (and in fact only Dupuis returned), which opens up a top six spot. Bennett is a talented young winger, and he acquitted himself nicely as a rookie this year. He was well ahead of where many had expected him to be at this point too. He makes only $900k per season, which will help Pittsburgh's cap situation tremendously (especially if they can slot him in on L1 or L2).


Long term sleeper pick –  Brian Dumoulin


Dumoulin was acquired from Carolina in the Jordan Staal trade. He is a very talented two-way defenseman with offensive upside. And he isn't far off from the NHL, either. The Penguins have Martin/Orpik/Letang/Niskanen all signed through next season. Only Martin has more than