Monday, September 26, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Philadelphia Flyers

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

Jakub Voracek – Philadelphia Flyers

Position – Right Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 213
Drafted – 1st Round, 7th Overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 80GP, 14G, 32A, 46P, -3, 26PIM

The Philadelphia Flyers will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch this season. By trading away their captain Mike Richards and top center Jeff Carter, the Flyers stated that they were drastically shaking up their team. In addition to giving Ilya Bryzgalov way too much money (9 year, $51million contract) and bringing back Jaromir Jagr to the NHL (1 year, 3.3million), they also received Wayne Simmonds, rookie’s Brayden Schenn & Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek. While upgrading their goaltending will only help the team it will be interesting to see how their new forwards do in Philly. Top prospect Brayden Schenn is the new Flyer that everyone is talking about; however, another player that you shouldn’t forget about is Jakub Voracek.

Originally drafted seventh overall by the Blue Jackets in 2007, Voracek just finished his third full season in the NHL. On a team that’s struggled the last few years, Voracek was seen as a key member of the Jackets build for the future. After having a 38 point season as a rookie in 2008-2009 he followed that up with a 50 point season in 2009-2010. He dropped down to a still respectable 46 points last season in Columbus which as a team was 24th in league scoring. Now that he’s going to a team that won’t struggle as much to put the puck in the net what will his role look like?

Based on the Flyers depth chart it would be easy to see him playing on the Flyers second line with the likes of Daniel Briere or Scott Hartnell (when he’s ready to return). Last year in Columbus Voracek was averaging just under three minutes on the power-play each night. With the Flyers going with some younger forwards (minus Jagr of course) they’ll be looking to Voracek to play some big minutes for them this season.

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