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 twentieth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
Nikita Filitov - Ottawa Senators
Position – Left Wing
Height – 6’0"
Weight – 209
Drafted – 1st Round, 6h Overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 AHL Stats – 36GP, 9G, 11A, 20P, -2, 20PIM
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 23GP, 0G, 7A, 7P, +3, 8PIM
Sometimes players just need a change of scenery. After being drafted sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008, Nikita Filitov appeared to have a bright future with the team. He made the Jackets roster that fall and scored a goal in his first game then scored a hat-trick in his sixth game. Former Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock was giving limited ice-time to the Russian forward and after only eight games sent him to play for their farm team in Syracuse and let him play for Russia in that winter's World Junior Hockey Championship.
The last two year's have been just as disappointing for the young forward. In each of the last two season's Filitov has made the Jackets out of camp yet wasn't able to stick with the team for the entire season. In 2009/2010 he even went to play in the KHL and last year only appeared in 23 games before spending the rest of the year in the AHL. It was clear that Filitov was finished in Columbus.
At the NHL Entry Draft this past summer the Ottawa Senators traded a third round draft pick for the 21 year-old. It could end up being the steal of the draft if Filitov can provide some offence for a team that was second last in scoring last season. This could be Filitov's last chance in the NHL so he'll be looking to have a strong season in Ottawa this year. If he ends up having a good camp it wouldn't be surprising to see him play on the top line with Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza this season.
Previous Sleeper Picks: