Monday, September 12, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Columbus Blue Jackets

It’s almost time for those annual fantasy hockey drafts. While most drafts feature the same players going in the first two rounds, it’s those players that you take in the mid-late rounds that will win you your league. Here’s the eighth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Grant Clitsome – Columbus Blue Jackets
Position – Defence
Height – 6’0”
Weight – 210
Drafted – 9th Round, 271st Overall, 2004 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 AHL Stats – 32GP, 5 G, 10A, 15P, -6, 22PIM
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 31GP, 4G, 15A, 19P, +2, 16PIM

Here’s an interesting player that you could take a gamble on this year. Last year Grant Clitsome split the season between Columbus and their AHL affiliate the Springfield Falcons.  In total between both the AHL & NHL he ended up scoring 34 points in 63 games played. While playing for the Blue Jackets he was able to score a respectable 19 points in 31 games. What’s even more encouraging was that he was able to finish with a plus two rating on a Blue Jackets team that was brutal the last few months of the season. The Jackets had enough faith in the young defenceman to give him on average just over 20 minutes of ice time per night which included some time on the power-play. He even led Blue Jackets defenceman in power-play goals last season. It should also be noted that he only had two power-play goals….

It will be interesting to see where Clitsome fits in with the new look Blue Jackets defence this season. GM Scott Howson brought in the likes of James Wisniewski and Radek Martinek to help out their back end. It’s safe to assume that the top defence pairing will be Wisniewski and Fedor Tyutin. This leaves a possible second pairing Clitsome and Martinek. Obviously Wisniewski will be on the first power-play unit but you could see Clitsome steal some power-play time away from Kris Russell this year.

Previous Sleeper Picks:
Day 1 - Anaheim Ducks
Day 2 - Boston Bruins
Day 3 - Buffalo Sabres
Day 4 - Calgary Flames
Day 5 - Carolina Hurricanes
Day 6 - Chicago Blackhawks
Day 7 - Colorado Avalanche

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