Saturday, September 24, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - New York Rangers

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 nineteenth of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
Michael Del Zotto - New York Rangers

Position – Defence
Height – 6’1"
Weight – 195
Drafted – 1st Round, 20th Overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 AHL Stats – 11GP, 0G, 7A, 7P, Even, 8PIM
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 47GP, 2G, 9A, 11P, -5, 20PIM
A lot of people like to talk about the "sophomore slump". Of course this refers to those players who have great rookie season's only to have terrible second season's in the league. Just a few years ago, Steve Mason won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year only to have a brutal sophomore season in Columbus. Michael Del Zotto was another name that could've been added to the list of players who had tough second season's.
After making the Rangers in the fall of 2009, Del Zotto went on to have a great rookie season scoring 37 points in 80 games. His name was even mentioned in the talk for the Calder that season. The Rangers were giving him plenty of time on the power-play and it seemed that he was on his way to becoming a top two defenceman on the team. For some reason Del Zotto really struggled in his second year in the NHL. After having a slow start and lacking in defensive area's he was sent to the Rangers farm team in Hartford to work on his game.
This will be Del Zotto's third year in the NHL and the important thing to remember with him is that he's only 21 year's old. With this being the last year of his entry level contract he'll be hoping to have a comeback year and to prove that his 38 point season as a rookie wasn't a fluke. Another thing to remember when debating on whether to draft Del Zotto is that Marc Staal could be out a while with Post Concussion Syndrome. This mean's that Del Zotto could be getting some extra ice time before he comes back. The Rangers are lacking some heavy shots on their blue line so the Rangers could be giving him plenty of opportunities on their power-play.
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