Patrice Bergeron- Bergeron, who was seriously hurt a few games into last season, should come back with a vengeance this season. He has looked good in pre-season and Boston should have a couple more offensive weapons this season with the additions of Ryder and Wheeler. Not your traditional sleeper, but some poolies may forget if they are just checking last years stats. Don’t miss out on him.
Martin Havlat- The oft-injured Havlat is in a contract year and now has some bonafide offensive players in front of him. Look for him to perhaps play through some injuries and put up big points. He has a new contract to earn and will get soft minutes behind Kane and Toews.
Matt Niskanen- This skilled blueliner put up respectable numbers last year in Dallas. Look for his totals to increase to perhaps around the 40 point area.
Michal Handzus- Handzus had a terrible year last season. He couldn’t score or do much else, despite getting the 2nd line minutes. Look for him to bounce back this season with Jarret Stoll now in LA to do some of the heavy lifting at center.
Alex Goligoski- This offensive minded defenseman should get a lot of ice time with Sergei Gonchar’s injury. If he is making passes to Crosby and Malkin, odds are he will get quite a few points.
Brandon Dubinsky- This speedy little Ranger had somewhat of a breakout last season. There is a strong supporting cast in Manhattan, but don’t be surprised if Dubinsky piles up some points. 50 to 60 isn’t out of the question.
Alex Tanguay- Tanguay is said to be excited and motivated to be playing an offensive role in his home province. Look for him to post big numbers after being saddled with a defensive situation in Calgary.
R.J. Umberger-The talented Umberger put up 50 points in a limited role in Philly. Look for those totals to increase now that he is skating on the top line and dishing to Rick Nash.
Nikolai Zherdev- Out of Hitchcock’s doghouse an in the Big Apple, Zherdev now has the luxury of being a complimentary offensive weapon. Look for him to thrive in this role.
Dustin Byfuglien- The hulking winger is in somewhat of a similar situation to Havlat in that he will likely get some soft minutes behind Kane and Toews. If he lines up with Sharp and Havlat, the points should follow because he can finish.
Honorable Mention- Ville Leino- The Red Wings picked up this former Finnish League star. Detroit has a knack for finding these hidden gems, so don’t be surprised if he has a big year. He won’t face the same pressure as Brunnstrom.
Fabian Brunnstrom- The hype throughout last spring and summer for this supposed Swedish sensation was immense. Illegal Curve says he can’t cover the bet and will be an afterthought in Dallas. Its not a good sign when he basically demands top 6 ice time. Who does he think he is, Jiri Dopita?
Radim Vrbata- Reports out of Tampa are not good. Vrbata is not showing any hustle or willingness to battle for the puck. Being a good Saskatchewan boy, Coach Melrose likely won’t stand for it and could find a replacement in any one of the 122 forward the Lightning have signed.
Marian Gaborik- I am not suggesting that Gabby won’t put up the numbers. When he is healthy, he delivers. However, his good buddy Pavol Demitra is gone and he wasn’t happy all summer with contract situation. There isn’t much behind on the depth chart, so watch for his numbers to sag.
Erik Cole- Brought into Edmonton to play LW on the top line, his chemistry with Horcoff and Hemsky may not click immediately. If it doesn’t, MacTavish isn’t shy about blending the lines and Penner could get his old spot back. If Cole is on the 3rd line with Pisani and Brodziak, he may not be the 30-30 guy everyone has him pegged for.
Miikka Kiprusoff- The Kipper’s numbers have been slipping for a while now. Don’t be shocked if they continue to dip, which doesn’t bode well with Dr. Hook on the bench.
Wade Redden- The notoriously party happy Redden just got dropped off in the city that never sleeps. Illegal Curve thinks his numbers will suffer as a result.
Daniel Briere- Briere’s numbers weren’t nearly as good in his first year in Philly after having a monster year in Buffalo. Mike Richards figures to be the go to guy now, so Briere may get less ice time and consequently fewer points.
Phillipe Boucher- He started last season like a house on fire and then was injured. He has the ability to put up points, but his health is suspect. Don’t count on getting a full season out this defender.
Alexei Kovalev- Isn’t he about due for a prolonged pout?
Random Red Wing Top 6 Forward- Though Illegal Curve hates to be wishy washy, we couldn’t decide which Red Wing’s numbers would suffer. Hossa’s arrival means that someone won’t see as much ice, but who will it be? There is only one puck, 60 minutes and 2 assists per goal to go around.