Monday, September 19, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Montreal Canadiens

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 fifteenth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.

Max Pacioretty – Montreal Canadiens
Position – Left Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 196
Drafted – 1st Round, 22nd Overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 Stats – 37GP, 14G, 10A, 24P, -1, 39PIM  

If you ask the average hockey fan about Max Pacioretty most fans will say “isn’t that the guy that Chara almost killed last season”. While that is partly true he’s also a great young forward who was having a terrific season before that unfortunate hit. The third year pro has spent the last three season’s splitting his time between the Montreal Canadiens and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. While in the AHL last year he had an impressive 32 points in 27 games. He was almost equally as good in the NHL as he had 24 points in 37 games before the hit by Chara wiped out the rest of his season and nearly destroyed his career. He ended up with not only a concussion but a broken vertebra as well.

By all pre-season reports Pacioretty is healthy and stronger than ever. You’ll probably see him play on the second line this season with Scott Gomez and Erik Cole who signed as a free agent with the Canadiens in the off season. The acquisition of Cole is interesting as both him and Pacioretty play a similar style and Cole of course had a similar injury during the 2005/2006 season. He’ll be a great mentor and line mate for Pacioretty. The other positive thing is that this will be the first season where Pacioretty will spend the entire season in Montreal and not have to worry about being sent down to the AHL. Based on previous statistics it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a 40-50 point 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
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild

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