Friday, September 30, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Tampa Bay Lightning

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

Teddy Purcell – Tampa Bay Lightning
Position – Right Wing
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 201
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 81GP, 17G, 34A, 51P, +5, 10PIM

It’s always great to see guys have a breakout season. That’s exactly what happened to Tampa Bay forward Teddy Purcell last year. After spending the first four years of his professional career in Los Angeles, Purcell ended up becoming lost in their shuffle and was traded to Tampa during the 2009/2010 season. That season he had scored 15 points in 60 games which was his first full year in the NHL. Last year in his first full year in Tampa he had his breakout year by scoring 51 points in 81 games. Even more impressive was he was third in team scoring in the playoffs when the Bolts went to the Eastern Conference Finals. His 17 points were behind only Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. When the playoffs were over he actually had five more points in the playoffs than Steven Stamkos.

Looking at Tampa’s roster this season it’s easy to see Purcell playing on the second line with Vincent Lecavalier. Tampa’s big three of Stamkos, St. Louis, and Lecavalier will all go early in most hockey drafts; however, don’t overlook Purcell. With him having a huge playoffs and a career season it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 26 year-old have another career year and flirt with 60 points. There’s bigger name players that also scored 50 points last year like Erik Cole or Jussi Jokinen but Purcell could be the better pick for you since Tampa will continue to be one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL 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
Day 10 - Detroit Red-Wings
Day 11 - Edmonton Oilers
Day 12 - Florida Panthers
Day 13 - Los Angeles Kings
Day 14 - Minnesota Wild
Day 15 - Montreal Canadiens
Day 16 - Nashville Predators
Day 17 - New Jersey Devils
Day 18 - New York Islanders
Day 19 - New York Rangers
Day 20 - Ottawa Senators
Day 21 - Philadelphia Flyers
Day 22 - Phoenix Coyotes
Day 23 - Pittsburgh Penguins
Day 24 - San Jose Sharks
Day 25 - St. Louis Blues

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