Fantasy Gold; Unsung Sleepers?

Jim McIsaac

A look at all 30 teams, and which player can help you in this shortened 2013 fantasy season.

Eastern Conference

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

He’s been widely known as the most talented and perhaps best back-up in the NHL for a number of years now, finally he’s got the shot to play a lot of games for a pretty good team.

Cody Hodgson, Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres dealt Derek Roy in the offseason to all but assure Cody of a top-2 center gig for the Sabres for many years to come. It’s speculated that his line-mates to start the season could be Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville.

Alexander Semin, Carolina Hurricanes

With the Staal brothers and Jeff Skinner gaining most of the already limited attention in Carolina, Alexander has the talent to come from under the radar and tally up an impressive amount of points.

Peter Mueller, Florida Panthers

The oft-injured Mueller now finds himself in the Eastern Conference, a fresh start for the offensively gifted forward who hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year.

Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens

This was a tough team to choose from, not many fantastic fantasy options. It was only 2008/09 when Markov recorded 64 points, now with two injury plagued seasons in a row, but yet only 33 years old, does he have anything left to give?

Bobby Butler, New Jersey Devils

It’s a bit of a reach, but Butler has shown brief signs of brilliance at the NHL level, and has played well with Albany during the lock-out. He should have a shot with a Devils team looking for offense, even more-so with Zach Parise gone.

Frans Nielsen, New York Islanders

His point totals have gradually increased four years in a row, and should be able to take the next step as a legitimate second line center in this league

Chris Kreider, New York Rangers

After an impressive play-off run with the Rangers last year, he’s fallen flat on his face with only 5 goals in 33 games in the AHL, the same amount of goals he had in 18 NHL playoff games. Nevertheless, he will be given every opportunity to shine.

Jakob Silfverberg, Ottawa Senators

The Swedish forward is ready to go as proven by his impressive 32 game stint in the AHL, where he's put up 28 points. He's all but assured a role on one of the top two lines, likely beginning the season alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek.

Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia Flyers

After a disappointing first regular season, Brayden turned it up in the playoffs notching 9 points in 11 games; carrying over to his AHL campaign where he’s piled up 33 points in 33 games this season. Now with his brother on the same team, expect a huge break-out year.

Beau Bennett, Pittsburgh Penguins

Who?!?!? That’s right, Beau Bennett. The Penguins first round pick in 2010 is currently leading the baby Penguins in scoring and is considered to be ''the chosen one'' to be paired up with Sidney Crosby, eventually. At least by the end of the season, expect to see Beau in a top-6 forward role on the Pens.

Anders Lindback, Tampa Bay Lightning

Great move in the offseason by Stevie-Y to bring in Lindback. Hidden behind Pekke Rinne in Nashville, Anders has all the talent to be the next great Scandinavian goaltender in the NHL. He’ll get every opportunity to do just that.

Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto Maple Leafs

Not a lot of people are talking about Nikolai Kulemin, and why would you after a 28 point NHL season? But have you seen his numbers overseas in the KHL? 38 points in 36 games, the catch is he was playing with Evgeni Malkin. Burst your bubble? Kulemin is full of confidence and is expected to skate on a line with Mikhail Grabovski and James van Riemsdyk.

Mike Ribeiro, Washington Capitals

Don’t forget about Mike Ribeiro! Everybody seems to, as he just slides down in drafts. He’s put up some 70 point seasons, and even 83 a few years back. Now he’ll have some time with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on powerplays. Should be another quiet great season for Mike.

Alexei Ponikarovsky/Nik Antropov, Winnipeg Jets

The two Eastern Europeans (Ukrainian and Kazakh respectively) are together again and should benefit from each other’s company. Although it may be from the third line, as long as they’re playing together, I think we’ll see a good season out of these two.

Western Conference

Peter Holland, Anaheim Ducks

Leads the Ducks farm team in scoring, and could be slated to begin the season as the centerman between Teemu Selanne, and Bobby Ryan. If this doesn’t entice you to at least take a look at Peter Holland as a deep late fantasy option, then I don’t know what will.

Sven Baertschi, Calgary Flames

Baerschi is one of the most electrifying offensive prospects to come out of the Western Hockey League in a while, it doesn’t matter where he’ll play at the start, by the end of the season, he should be top 3 in rookie scoring.

Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

The lockout has allowed Marian to get healthy, Hossa averages nearly a point a game, and that’s nothing to sleep on. One of the most talented players when on the ice, he could be a steal for you if for some reason he falls.

Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

His first season in the Mile High city wasn’t the greatest, but expect a better performance from him, and the team. He’s been lights out in Russia, recording a .946 SV% in 16 games.

Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets

The 2011 Hobey Baker finalist finds himself third in the AHL scoring, with 38 points in 33 games, now he’ll be leaving the AHL for a spot on Columbus’ first line alongside R.J. Umberger, and Derrick Brassard, for a team that will be in desperate need of offence, now that Rick Nash is gone.

Ray Whitney, Dallas Stars

The 40 year old is coming off a 77 point season, and now finds him on his 8th NHL team, where he’s expected to skate on the Stars second line with Derek Roy, and Michael Ryder. Don’t expect another 70+ point season though.

Damien Brunner, Detroit Red Wings

Brunner, a veteran of the Swiss league, comes over to North America for the first time ever as is expected to get plenty of time as a top six forward playing with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on powerplays at the very least. Honorable mention: Gustav Nyquist.

Justin Schultz, Edmonton Oilers

You'll most likely have to reach for him now, but it may be worth it if his start in the AHL is any indication. Schultz is everything and more the Oilers doctors ordered when they signed the overage junior this summer. 48 points in 34 AHL games is outstanding to say the least.

Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings

Slava is no Justin Schultz, but he is the second best offensive defenseman the defending Stanley Cup champions have, and with a wealth of forwards to finish his passes, expect to see a high number of assists in Voynov’s stat line.

Mikael Granlund, Minnesota Wild

Everyone is talking about the new additions of Parise/Suter, which suits Granlund fine as he’s one of the premier new additions to the NHL. He’ll be a top six forward all year long, with plenty of opportunities on the PP.

Roman Josi, Nashville Predators

Big shoes to fill as Ryan Suter is gone, Roman Josi will have to pick up the slack. The young Josi has showed signs of brilliance early on in his career, and will now receive ample amount of time in all situations being paired up with Shea Weber.

Steve Sullivan, Phoenix Coyotes

I kid you not; Steve Sullivan is still fantasy relevant in 2013. He now finds himself in Phoenix where he’s expected to see a lot of time on scoring lines and the PP. He’s been around forever, but yet 38 years old.

Martin Havlat, San Jose Sharks

After a not-so-great first season in San Jose, expect a healthier, more productive year out of the 31 year old. The forward is the definition of streaky but can put up nice offensive numbers if healthy.

Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

I can see a lot of fantasy GM’s reaching for the peoples’ choice of winning the Calder, just don’t go overboard. There are a lot of forwards in St.Louis, so he’ll have to prove his worth, and climb the depth chart gradually. But if his KHL numbers translate to North America, he should have no trouble enjoying a great rookie season. Snatch him up later if you can.

Alexander Edler, Vancouver Canucks

Edler nearly cracked the 50-point plateau last season, and could be a bargain when looking for that fantasy defenceman. As long as the Sedin's are finshing, Edler's numbers should remain high.

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