Fantasy

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers for 2017-18: Right Wing

Sven Andrighetto

This week our focus will be on my top five sleeper picks at the right wing position. Once again, we will keep it easy and simple and base the list on points. Draft these guys carefully, and they should be great pickups for the middle or late rounds of any draft. In case you missed it, here is last week’s list for sleeper centers: Fantasy Hockey Sleepers for 2017-18: Centers.

Joshua Ho-Sang, New York Islanders

Ho-Sang was a late call-up by the New York Islanders last season. In his 21-game stint, he notched four goals and 10 points, averaging a little over 16 minutes of ice time. He was drafted by the Islanders in the first round, 21st overall, in the 2014 draft. Many thought he might make the team out of training camp but instead started the season in the AHL. In his first season as a pro with Bridgeport, he scored 36 points in 50 games. At 6-foot, 175 pounds, Ho-sang has some good size to go along with his skill and should fit in nicely on the right side on most likely the second line. Don’t get too discouraged if you see his ice time dip or see him drop to the third line; it shouldn’t be for long, if at all. You may want to draft him earlier than some others due to his potential, but don’t waste a really early pick on him, either.

Sven Andrighetto, Colorado Avalanche

Andrighetto has a lot of skill, speed and hockey sense, but not much size. He spent the last three seasons bouncing up and down between the Montreal Canadiens and their AHL farm team. When in the minors, Andrighetto was a point-per-game performer playing top-six minutes. However, in Montreal he was buried on the bottom two lines and was able to only show flashes of his true potential. The Canadiens finally traded him to the Colorado Avalanche at the trade deadline. He went from 11 minutes per game in Montreal to 16 minutes per game in Colorado, and the results showed. Andrighetto managed only eight points in 27 games with the Habs. While in Colorado, he doubled his output and scored 16 points in 19 games. This showed that he is quite capable of scoring a point per game in the NHL when given top-six minutes. Look to see him improve even more with the rebuilding Avalanche, especially if they keep giving him the ice time he needs. Andrighetto is my top sleeper pick this season. Expect a big year from him.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers

Puljujarvi was drafted fourth overall by Edmonton last year. This surprised many because most thought he would go third. He didn’t produce in the NHL like the Oilers have hoped, tallying only eight points in 28 games. He did, however, have a solid season in the AHL, where he scored 12 goals and 28 points in only 39 games. Puljujarvi has the rare trifecta qualities of size, speed, and skill. Standing at 6-foot-5 and close to 200 pounds, he still has the speed to blow by any defenseman. With the rumors of Eberle being traded or being left unprotected and drafted by the Las Vegas Golden Knights, this could be the year Puljujarvi gets a chance to shine. Be careful drafting him in non-dynasty leagues, but remember he was picked fourth overall last season for a reason.

Oliver Bjorkstrand, Columbus Blue Jackets

Bjorkstrand has scored 10 goals and 21 points in 38 career games with Columbus over two seasons. In 2015-16, he helped lead the Lake Erie Monsters to the Calder Cup by scoring 16 points in 17 games and winning the Jack Butterfield Award for playoff MVP. Bjorkstrand is one of those third-round draft picks who will probably end up with an above-average NHL career. He has good hockey sense and skill but will be buried behind Cam Atkinson. Coming out of training camp this season, he will have to battle Josh Anderson for time on the second line, but that should push him to be better. I believe Bjokstrand could be next year’s surprise player and have a breakout season.

Jakub Vrana, Washington Capitals

The Capitals, having both Justin Williams and T.J Oshie as UFAs this season, will probably be able to sign only one of them. This should give Vrana the opportunity to finally crack the roster full time out of training camp. He played 21 games for the club last season scored six points. The six points were a result of averaging only 11 minutes of ice time on the bottom two lines. Vrana has the potential to be a top-line forward and scored close to a point per game in the AHL. Look to see Vrana increase his minutes this season and produce at a better rate. I would pick Vrana really late or wait and see if you can pick him up on the waiver wire. He is a high-risk, high-reward player.

These are my top five sleepers for right wing. I think Andrighetto will be your best bet because he’s going to have a huge season in Colorado. He will get top-line minutes and has the skill set to succeed. Be very careful with Puljujarvi and Vrana, as both are high-risk, high-reward players that will probably get full seasons with the big club. Other notable picks would be Josh Anderson of Columbus, Ryan Hartman in Chicago and Connor Brown in Toronto. Anderson will battle Bjorkstrand for the second-line job and has high potential. Hartman put up good numbers last season on the third line. Brown has nice potential, especially if he plays alongside Matthews. Brendon Gallagher could score 20 goals if he can stay healthy. Anthony Duclair is another guy I’d keep an eye on, as he has all the potential to be a good late pick and rebound from a bad season.

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