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NHL Players On Sleeper Teams

from Sean Leahy of NBC Sports,m

Here’s who NHL players told us will be the sleeper teams of 2019-20:

Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs: “Probably New Jersey. I’m not really sure they’re a sleeper team but they’ve made a lot of really good acquisitions this summer. They’ve got the first overall pick, [Nikita] Gusev from Vegas, P.K. [Subban], and they’ve got some pretty good young guys that have been there for a while like [Nico] Hischier and [Taylor] Hall. They missed the playoffs last year but they’re always a tough team to play against. They play fast and they’re going to be a team that surprises some other teams.”

Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings: “I’d say Detroit. Everyone’s healthy right now. We have good pickups that would add depth to our team and our young core of players coming up.”

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks: “I don’t know if there are sleepers anymore, to be honest. I think Colorado’s going to be good. Maybe Vancouver. I’ve found them to be a really good team. They worked so hard last year. There’s a lot of teams that are hiding in the weeds just waiting for their turn to make a surge for the playoffs and make it count when that time comes.”

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Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings: “I’d say Detroit. Everyone’s healthy right now. We have good pickups that would add depth to our team and our young core of players coming up.”

So, this is Detroit’s “brightest” star, huh?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 09/19/19 at 08:49 AM ET


I could see it being a possibility to be honest, anything is in hockey.  The problem is if that would be a good thing.  Becuase if it did happen and they took a decent step forward this year, do any of us believe it would be an actual step forward It would be good goaltending, a lot of squeaked out wins, which I mean, is great for resiliency and all, but it wouldn’t be a true step forward in it wouldn’t be repeatable or because of the right reasons and would sacrifice yet another opportuniuty at a higher pick which we absolutely need.

Why other teams have been able to turn it around quicker, is they went down.  Holland gave this team an opportunity to squeak out wins.  I don’t want to rehash moves, but right or wrong moves, good or bad, they gave the team the ability to squeak out wins they shouldn’t have and delayed a proper rebuild.  Even now, this attempt to be so competitive, its hard to say how good it is versus denying the opportunity to be bad and get the personnel we need.

Our prospects are great and all, but if we are ready for the playoffs, or Stanley cup in a few years, it’s going to be more of a Boston, St.Louis, Nashville model, than a Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh model led by bonafide studs.  It will have to be a lot of really good players as opposed to truly star players… at least it’s looking that way.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 09/19/19 at 11:20 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Posted by DieByTheWing on 09/19/19 at 12:20 PM ET

As opposed to CharDee’s to-be-expected snarky comment, yours was an exceptionally well-thought-out evaluation of what Larkin said. Thanks for an adult-level insight, DieBy.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/19/19 at 01:11 PM ET

Steeb's avatar

It’s nice that Dboss says that, as a (guy who will undoubtedly be) captain should. But I imagine Stevie will keep guys like Veleno, Zadina, Mo, and Cholowski in GR for most of this season for over-ripening, since this year is another rebuild year and there’s no reason to rush them up. This has the added benefit of getting us a high draft pick which we need.

We’re nearing competitiveness, but we aren’t there yet.

Posted by Steeb on 09/19/19 at 01:36 PM ET


Thanks for an adult-level insight, DieBy.

Get a room, Oldy Olsen.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 09/20/19 at 09:50 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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