Guzzwell take a look at three sleeper picks from the Western Conference
Due to working on this year’s Dobber Fantasy Hockey Guide while also in the middle of a house renovation, needless to say time has been very precious this week. Rather than pulling together a full article, this week’s Wild West column is a sneak peek into the Top 20 Sleeper Picks in the West. The full list can be found in Dobber’s Fantasy Hockey Guide which comes out August 01, along with other in-depth contributions by Dobber and all of the other great writers on the site. In the meantime I thought I would share a few sleepers from the Western Conference while we all await the release of The Guide and prepare for our upcoming drafts.
Matt Nieto, LW, San Jose. In the shadow of talented winger Tomas Hertl lives another talented young player in Matt Nieto. The expected departure of Martin Havlat to New Jersey and the shift of Brent Burns back to defense assures that Nieto will be a top six winger who will be counted on to complement San Jose’s superstars. This means Nieto will easily improve on the 24 points in 66 games that he posted in 2013-14.
Last year the 21-year-old Nieto received just over 14 minutes per game of playing time and was used sparingly on the power play. However, during a 15 game stretch from early February to Late March he managed 11 points in 15 games. And despite San Jose’s embarrassing playoff collapse, Nieto was a bright light putting up a respectable five points in seven playoff games. Consider him a lock for 40 points with an outside chance at 50 or more in 2014-15.
Mark Arcobello, C, Edmonton. As it stands today, Arcobello is now the number two center on Edmonton’s depth chart. The necessary step of letting Sam Gagner go also suggests that the Oilers believe in Arcobello, who started 2013-2014 with 10 points in his first 10 games before a 13 game slump that saw him post just two points and eventually spend half of the season in the AHL. Arcobello finished 2013-14 with 18 points in 41 games, a respectable 36 point pace for the rookie.
Now after having a year to mature and a possible top six role pivoting Edmonton’s core of talented wingers, the 25-year-old Arcobello is a risk worth taking in the later rounds. If he sticks in the top six, seeing time with the likes of Hall, Eberle, Perron, Yakupov and Pouliot could mean 45 points.
Patrick Maroon, LW, Anaheim. After a decent 2013-2014 rookie campaign that saw the 26-year-old Maroon post 29 points in 62 games, a jump to the 50 point plateau isn’t out of the question in 2014-2015. If the Dany Heatley experiment fails in Anaheim, expect Maroon to get a shot on the first line with studs Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Even if an experiment on the top line flounders, the consolation prize of a regular shift with Ryan Kesler will improve Maroon’s numbers regardless. Factor in Maroon’s PIM totals from last year (he finished with 101 PIMs) and we have a serviceable up and coming multi-cat contributor who is worth a later round pick.
He still hasn’t tweeted, but you can follow Dallas on Twitter @MX_hockey
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