Connor McDavid. Dylan Strome. Jack Eichel. Mitch Marner.
What do those three have in common? They’re all future NHL superstars.
There is no question that there’s been a ton of attention on the projected top four prospects heading into the draft. But what about the guys who don’t get the media attention? Each year, there are a handful of sleepers that fall below what their true value may be, partly because of a variable in their game that may put them in a disadvantage at times. Whether it be Pavel Datsyuk going 171st overall in 1998, Henrik Lundqvist getting called at 205 in 2000 or Pekka Rinne going to the Predators at (the now defunct) 258th pick in 2004, you can almost always count on some great prospects coming from the later rounds of the NHL Draft.
Sleepers can come in any capacity. Forwards, defensemen, goaltenders, short, tall, speedy, skilled, slow developer, somehow forgotten, etc. Every year, there could always be a ton of players that can fit any of those terms. With the amount of talent this year, there’s no exception this year. Let’s take a look at 35 potential stars just waiting to make to prove to the world that every other team was wrong in passing over them.
Click below for some information on some of the sleepers included in the list.
|Justin Scott||F||Barrie Colts||30||23||53||Very few people seem to be talking about him. On the ice for a lot of goals, underrated scoring threat.|
|Colby Williams||D||Regina Pats||11||30||41||Chippy, can be one of the better defensemen on the ice, creates a lot of goals.|
|Stephen Desrocher||D||Oshawa Generals||10||13||23||Good solid defensive defenseman. He can be a depth shutdown guy at a low cost. Puck isn't in his zone a lot.|
|Anthony Cirelli||F||Oshawa Generals||13||23||36||He had a huge end to the Memorial Cup. Great rookie season in a limited role, out did all expectations as a walk on.|
|Jake Smith||G||North Bay Battalian||18||10||0.896||Great under pressure. Solid glove hand. He's played a lot over the past two seasons.|
|Dante Salituro||F||Ottawa 67's||37||41||78||Super skilled scoring star, excels more as a winger. Outscored many top end prospects in Minor Midget.|
|Tyler Wong||F||Lethbridge Hurricanes||27||29||56||Easily the best all-around forward on Lethbridge. Top scorer, great defensively.|
|Spencer Smallman||F||Saint John Sea Dogs||23||33||56||Solid playmaker, continues to improve. Despite his name, he's got decent size and is hard to take off the puck.|
|Nathan Noel||F||Saint John Sea Dogs||24||38||62||Whenever he makes a mistake, he tries even harder the next year. He's set for two good seasons with the Sea Dogs.|
|Andrew Mangiapane||F||Barrie Colts||43||61||104||One of the top scorers in the OHL, the 18-year-old improved tremendously in his second season. Power-play specialist, dynamic shooting threat.|
|Conor Garland||F||Moncton Wildcats||35||94||129||Tied with Dylan Strome for top scorer in the CHL. He and Eichel played together with the Boston Junior Bruins, so look for Buffalo to take a shot at him.|
|Gabriel Gagne||F||Victoriaville Tigres||35||24||59||Fast, defensively sound in his own end, ton of power.|
|Anthony DeLuca||F||Drummondville Voltigeurs||44||47||91||Natural goal scorer with unlimited offensive options.|
|Matt Spencer||D||Peterbourgh Petes||6||24||30||Could have easily been a first rounder if it wasn't for having to take such a big load on a terrible Peterbourgh team.|
|Parker Wotherspoon||D||Tri-City Americans||9||33||42||Had a really strong U18's. Very good speed and acceleration in both directions.|
|Ken Appleby||G||Oshawa Generals||38||7||0.924||Great under pressure. Runner-up for top goalie, very athletic when needed but plays more conservative.|
|Jacob Hayhurst||F||Toronto Patriots||23||32||55||Just over 1 PPG in the playoffs. Hayhurst was key in every important situation for the Patriots. Big reason why they wo|
|Kyle Capobianco||D||Sudbury Wolves||10||30||40||Good puckmoving defenseman. He underachieved a year ago during his rookie season, but he's really focused on refining his game.|
|Kay Schweri||F||Sherbrooke Phoenix||12||56||68||He's small, but he's a rocket on skates and can create unbelieveable scoring chances. Tremendous playmaker.|
|Ben Blacker||G||Cedar Rapids Roughriders||24||11||0.913||For a good portion of the USHL season, Blacker was one of the best goaltenders in the league despite being a rookie. There's a reason he committed to Western Michigan before his first full OJHL season.|
|Dmytro Timashov||F||Quu00e9bec Remparts||19||71||90||A 90 point rookie season is quite the feat. A Swedish scoring star, his speed and creativity is rather fun to watch.|
|Travis Konecny||F||Ottawa 67's||29||39||68||How often is a former first round pick in the OHL a sleeper? Konecny could find himself chosen late in the first round, but with his pure, all around talent, he deserves to go a little higher.|
|Tyler Soy||F||Victoria Royals||28||35||63||Good two-way centre that could be a reliable player down the stretch. Great second season in the OHL, shown improvement in all areas.|
|Mattias Nu00f6rstebu00f6||D||Brynas||0||1||1||Quite unknown, but after starring for Norway against men at the World Championships, he proved he's a contender.|
|Matt Luff||F||Hamilton Red Wings||9||22||31||Jumped from Midget to OHL without a hitch, often considered a top ten prospect in the OHL. Should excel with Hamilton next year.|
|Mitchell Stephens||F||Saginaw Spirit||22||26||48||Great playmaking forward that strived with Barzal at the U18's.|
|Denis Malgin||F||GC Ku00fcsnacht Lions||6||6||12||Decent playmaker with good speed. He's looked good for the Swiss national team at every level.|
|Noah Juulsen||D||Everett Silvertips||9||43||52||Juulsen forces a lot of players to the outskirts in the offensive-zone, limiting the scoring chances against him. Juulsen isn't a huge blue liner, but he's willing to level you out in order to make a play.|
|Simon Bourque||D||Rimouski Ocu00e9anic||10||28||38||Not too flashy, but he gets the job done in his own zone. Should play a decent role with Rimouski next season.|
|Adin Hill||G||Portland Winterhawks||31||11||0.921||Took over the starting role with Portland rather nicely. He was a late bloomer, so it may be safer to sign him to a deal after the draft.|
|Will Rielly||D||North York Rangers||17||18||35||Rielly seemingly came out of nowhere to make a big impact with the North York Rangers. He's definetly worth a look, as his ceiling continues to rise with every game he plays.|
|Deven Sideroff||F||Kamloops Blazers||17||25||42||Huge U18 tournament in April, made all his linemates better every shift. Great passer, dangerous around the crease.|
|Jesse Gabrielle||F||Regina Pats||23||18||45||He makes the opposition angry all the time. He's a guy you want on your third and fourth line.|
|Travis Dermott||D||Erie Otters||8||37||45||An offensive threat from the point, Dermott has a good shot, yet is more effective getting the puck to the forwards up the ice. Tracks plays very well and should be a fixture on the PP and PK.|
|Alexander Dergachyov||F||SKA-1946 St. Petersburg||10||29||39||Huge power forward who put up good numbers in the Russian junior league. He can score, hit and make effective passes. Oh, and he's talented, which helps.|
Steven is a junior hockey reporter for the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and also focuses on international hockey for his website, TheHockeyHouse.net. You can follow Steven on twitter @StevenEllisNHL.