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Here are ten players who we think might be undervalued on draft day. Are they risky? You bet... but sometimes long shots pay off. As an added bonus, with an extended lockout these guys might get some extra time to heal up those fragile bodies. Wow, we just found a silver lining to the lockout!
Some owners only look at last year’s point totals and miss some of the great performances by guys who missed a chunk of the season to injuries. Assuming the risk of injuries is gone (or at least low) these guys could be major steals on draft day.
1) Matt Duchene - missed 24 games with knee and ankle injuries... now fully healthy
Not only was Duchene hurt but he was awful when he did play (just a 42 point pace). He has the skills to top 70 points in a season and makes a great bounce-back candidate.
2) Travis Zajac - missed 67 games with achilles injury... now fully healthy
You might forget that Zajac has two 60+ point seasons on his resume. Of course those were two years ago but it shows you he can bring the goods. He should be centering Kovalchuk all season.
3) Ryan Whitney - missed 31 games with an ankle injury... reportedly pain-free
Remember when he scored 59 points on the Pens? This guy has some pretty big time offensive skills. He’s apparently healthy (don’t expect a full season though) and has played at a 45 point pace with the Oilers. Worth the risk.
4) Peter Mueller - missed 41 games with a concussion and 6 games with an UBI... now fully healthy (apparently)
Now with the Panthers he’ll try to right the ship after two injury filled seasons (15 and 32 games played). No doubt he has the skills but he’ll need to stay healthy. He’s saying he’s 100% and is symptom free. Not sure about that but he seems a good risk if you can get him on the cheap.
5) Tyler Myers - missed 23 games with foot and wrist injuries... now fully healthy
That bruised foot turned out to be a hairline fracture but apparently Myers is ready to go.this year. He’s been a workhorse his first two NHL seasons (80 and 82 games) so expect a bounceback to the 35-40 point range.
6) Jeff Skinner - missed 16 games with a concussion... now fully healthy
He played at just a 56 point last year after 63 as an 18 year old rookie. We think he’s another guy that could easily top 70. He’s been training with Gary Roberts and added 10 more pounds of muscle. Could be a big season for Skinner coming.
7) Nathan Horton - missed 36 games with a concussion... cleared for contract hopefully ready for training camp
While signs are looking good for Horton he’s still an injury risk, but if you can translate that into into picking him up in the last rounds you could be laughing all the way to a cheap 60 point season.
8) Mark Giordano - missed 21 games with a leg injury... now fully healthy
43 points in his last full season and because of last season’s injury he might slip by a few radars.
9) Guillaume Latendresse - missed 65 games with a concussion... not fully healthy (apparently)
He’s got 50 point potential if he can stay healthy and hang onto his second line role. He’s waaaay off the radar so you should be able to nab him for basically nothing.
10) Andrei Markov - missed 68 games knee injury... expected to start season healthy but big injury risk
Markov has played in just 65 games over the last THREE years combined so don’t go expecting him to be in your lineup everyday. Still, if the price is low the risk might be worth it as the 33 year old Markov is a .58 ppg player over his career and scored 64 points in his last full NHL season.