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The Roundtable Week 24

Michael Finewax
A benefit of high octane shot attempts are rebounds. A good example is the Carolina Hurricanes and data from MoneyPuck.com.

This week’s question is:

Who is your sleeper team in the playoffs and sleeper player to draft?

 

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Ryan: St. Louis.  The Blues are a solid all-around team that's turned into one of the league's best second half forces thanks to Jordan Binnington.  Not that he's been alone in that mind you, Jake Allen has a 1.99 GAA and .935 save percentage since the start of February.  It will be interesting to see who starts in the playoffs, but with both of their goaltenders hot at the right time, the Blues don't necessarily have a bad option in net and as we've seen time and again, a hot goaltender can take you far.  A lot of people might peg the Blues as a team destined to be ousted in the first round, which makes every player on that team a potential sleeper.  I'll highlight Brayden Schenn in particular.  He's had a somewhat down season with 13 goals and 44 points in 61 contests, but he's got the potential to be a major difference maker.

 

Corey: I think the Blues will be undervalued as well, but getting out of the second round has been a problem for them and having to go through Winnipeg and Nashville isn't ideal.  I don't know if you can call a team that went to the Stanley Cup Final last year a sleeper, but I feel like Vegas is being underestimated.  Marc-Andre Fleury has heated up again and he has dominated his Pacific Division foes this season, while going 14-4-2 with a 1.75 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage and six shutouts.  I still like the Sharks in the Pacific, but the Golden Knights stand a great chance to emerge from that bracket as well.  The addition of Mark Stone gives them another weapon up front and Reilly Smith, who has been red hot, would qualify as my sleeper for the team.    

 

Joey: I think the Stars could go on a run. Of course, they'd need Ben Bishop to be healthy and on his game, but they have a lot of high-end talent and the depth players are finally starting to come around, too. As of right now, they're in the first Wild Card spot, which means they'd face the Winnipeg Jets. They'd probably be better off finishing in the second Wild Card spot so that they would play the Calgary Flames, who have question marks between the pipes.

If the Stars do go on a run, I think Jason Spezza could be an interesting fantasy sleeper. Even though his offensive numbers have dropped dramatically over the last little while, he's picked up 65 in 69 career playoff games. He could be an intriguing late-round add in standard playoff leagues. 

 

Brian: My sleeper team is Dallas. I don't think many have them going far (provided they even make the playoffs). However, the top end talent on that team, starting with forwards Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, is impressive. Add in top blueliner John Klingberg and underrated goalie Ben Bishop and you have the makings of a surprise contender.

As for my sleeper player, I'm all over Wayne Simmonds. Perfect playoff performer and now on a very strong Nashville squad.

 

Daniel: I might be a little biased living in the Triangle, but the Carolina Hurricanes could really be a tough out for anyone. Everyone has expected the bottom to drop out on the goaltender duo of Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney, but the two have remained red hot. They're as solid 20-14-3 on the road this season, too, so the young Hurricanes won't be intimidated away from home. Sebastian Aho is a star in the making up front, Teuvo Teravainen is an underrated stud, Justin Williams has been a tremendous captain and steadying veteran presence and bench boss Rod Brind'Amour should be the Jack Adams Award winner for his job in Raleigh. They won't be hoisting Lord Stanley's Cup again in North Carolina this season, but they will end someone's parade hopes by marching on to at least the second round.

Andrei Svechnikov was the first forward off the board in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, and he started out a bit slow. However, he has picked up the pace lately, he leads the Hurricanes with 56 penalty minutes, and he seems to have the perfect combination of offensive skill and a mean streak to be a real pest in the postseason.

 

Michael: I also like Carolina but one of the hottest teams of late is the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes are in a playoff spot and if they remain there, I like their chances of upsetting in a round or two. They have been playing quite well of late and are getting outstanding goaltending and defense.

Should they make the post-season, Alex Galchenyuk would make a great last round pick as would Clayton Keller as those two are the top players for the Coyotes.