Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Edmonton Oilers

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 eleventh of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
Cam Barker - Edmonton Oilers

Position – Defence
Height – 6’3”
Weight – 215
Drafted – 1st Round, 3rd Overall, 2004 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 Stats – 52GP, 1G, 4A, 5P, -10, 34PIM
The last two years have been a bit of a disaster for Cam Barker. During the 2009/2010 season while playing for the Chicago Blackhawks he was traded to the Minnesota Wild only to see the team that drafted him go on to win the Stanley Cup later that Spring. Last year in his first full season with the Minnesota Wild he only appeared in 52 games and tallied a career low five points. At the end of the season the Wild ended up waiving the former third overall draft pick and buying out the last year of his contract and making him an unrestricted free agent. Not exactly great seasons for a player drafted right after Evgeni Malkin in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
In July, the Edmonton Oilers decided to take a gamble on the 25 year old defenceman. Yes, the last two season's were a disaster for Barker but if you look at his previous season's he was putting up decent numbers for such a young player. In 2008/2009 he ended up scoring 40 points even after he started that season in the AHL. The year before that he had 18 points in 45 games as a 21 year old with the Blackhawks. With the Oilers blue line being terrible (and even that's being kind) this could be the perfect situation for Barker to come into. He's going to get a fair share of playing time on a young team and it wouldn't be that shocking to see him overtake Tom Gilbert as the team's number two defenceman. Expect the Oilers to give him some power-play time and he could be good for 30 points this season.

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
Day 8 - Columbus Blue Jackets
Day 9 - Dallas Stars

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