Sunday, October 2, 2011

30 in 30: Top NHL Fantasy Sleeper Picks - Toronto Maple Leafs

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-seventh of the thirty players that could be great sleeper picks in your draft this year.
Joffrey Lupul - Toronto Maple Leafs
Position – Right Wing
Height – 6’1”
Weight – 206
Drafted - 1st Round, 7th Overall, 2002 NHL Entry Draft
2010/2011 NHL Stats – 54GP, 14G, 17A, 31P, -11, 33PIM

It hasn’t been an easy last few years for Joffrey Lupul. After having a 50 point season in 2008/2009, the veteran was traded back to the Ducks who had drafted him originally in 2002. Early into the 2009 season, Lupul went down with a back injury which ended up taking him out of the last 52 games of the season. He ended up being out of action for over a year as he finally rejoined the Ducks in December of last year. After being off for a year he had respectable return by scoring 13 points in 26 games. Lupul couldn’t get too comfortable though as he was traded to the Maple Leafs for Francois Beuchemin. After joining the Leafs he seemed to pick up his scoring pace with
18 points in the final 28 games.

For a player that’s been traded four times in the last six seasons, Lupul may have found a home in Toronto. He seems to be a good piece for a rebuilding Toronto team. He’s still young yet has seven NHL seasons under his belt so he will be counted on to be a leader on a very young team. The big upside to Lupul this season is that there’s a good chance that you could see him on a line with Tim Connelly and Phil Kessel. If Connelly can stay healthy, that could be a great top line for the Leafs this season. Lupul probably won’t be ranked really high on team’s draft lists so he could be a great late round steal for you.

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