Fantasy Corner: Atlantic Division First Round DFS Sleepers

This will give you some information on players you or others may be overlooking when drafting your playoff fantasy teams. Whichever teams you are choosing to go far, you will want to load up with players. This is where sleepers come in handy because a decent player on a team that makes it out of the first round will likely be worth more than a superstar on a first-round exit.

Sam Bennett – Florida Panthers

Sam Bennett is built for the playoff with his hard-nosed game. It also helps that he centres a line with Jonathan Huberdeau on it, so he’s likely to add a number of goals and points at five-on-five. The Florida Panthers are set to feast on the Washington Capitals in the first round, so you’re more likely to get at least 10 games out of Bennett.

But the Panthers are Stanley Cup favourites, so players will likely be going early in drafts. If you believe the Panthers will make their first playoff run in a long time with the stacked team they’ve assembled, taking good players playing on the lines of the stars is a good strategy.

Ilya Mikheyev – Toronto Maple Leafs

If we’re talking sleeper picks, you have to be considering Ilya Mikheyev of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He missed a significant portion of the season but since he’s back and healthy, he scored 21 goals and 32 points in 53 games. He lines up on the second line and is one of the hardest-working players in the league when he’s on the ice. It has started to pay off beside John Tavares and William Nylander who both have 76-plus points on the season.

Ilya Mikheyev Toronto Maple Leafs
Ilya Mikheyev, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Maple Leafs have a number of players who set career highs and popped off this season, including Mikheyev who finished the season with four goals and six points in the final six games. He scores on the power play and when shorthanded and has blazing speed to get himself into position to score with or without the puck. When people think of the Maple Leafs and their scoring, Mikheyev is an after-though. If you believe Toronto will finally make it out of the first round, he is a great option to pick up late in the draft to get you fantasy points.

Alex Killorn – Tampa Bay Lightning

Like the Maple Leafs, when you think of the Tampa Bay Lightning, you think of the big guns in Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Victor Hedman. A known playoff performer of the bunch is Point who lacks the recognition for how he’s produced on the way to back to back Stanley Cups. He will go much higher, so our focus is on his linemate who has done well this season but hasn’t been talked about.

Alex Killorn plays on the second line beside Point and new linemate Brandon Hagel. Killorn also plays on the dominant power play when at full strength that is sure to score a number of goals. He once again played every game this season and finished with 25 goals and 59 points. If the Lightning make another run as we know they very well could, it is wise to take advantage of these second-tier players lower in drafts who can still produce points for you.

Erik Haula – Boston Bruins

You may think the Boston Bruins have no business making it out of the other division with the likes of the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, and Pittsburgh Penguins, but they are a good team that finished with 51 wins. Many of these players know what it takes to make a long Cup run, as they did so three seasons ago with a number of the same players on the team.

Erik Haula Boston Bruins
Erik Haula, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That being said, a player who has been playing very well down the stretch and should continue that is Erik Haula. He was promoted to second-line centre and immediately found chemistry with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak when the Bruins were attempting to spread the scoring out. They succeeded and Haula’s style of play with better players allowed him to score 10 goals and 19 points in the final 19 games of the season. If Boston is the team you think is going to go far, which they very well could, don’t sleep on Haula.

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