5 fantasy hockey sleepers you should target in the later rounds

These five players won't be on many radars come draft day, but fantasy owners could strike gold by plucking at least one of them in the later rounds.

LW/RW Ondrej Kase, Ducks

Kase was very productive for the Anaheim Ducks this past season despite his limited role and missing 16 games, finishing in a tie for second on the team with 20 goals. Here's how he stacked up against the team's fellow top-nine right-wingers:

Player GP G A P ATOI
Corey Perry 71 17 32 49 17:47
Jakob Silfverberg 77 17 23 40 17:58
Ondrej Kase 66 20 18 38 13:55

While Silfverberg's ice time is more reflective of his defensive abilities, Perry is on a dramatic decline. Considering Kase is one of their best offensive players, the goal-hungry Ducks could look to give him an expanded role this coming season, eating into Perry and Silfverberg's minutes.

If Kase remains healthy, sees more ice time, and maybe even gets an audition alongside Ryan Getzlaf on the first line, he has the skill for a 30-goal season.

RW Ty Rattie, Oilers

Rattie should be classified as an extremely deep sleeper. Barring some sort of ridiculous performance in preseason, he probably won't even get drafted in your league, so he can be used with a final-round pick.

The 25-year-old has largely underwhelmed thus far, considering he was chosen 32nd overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. He's spent most of his career in the AHL, where he has produced admirably. In brief NHL stints, he failed to make an impact; that was, however, until he was placed on Connor McDavid's line.

In the final 12 games of the 2017-18 season, Rattie scored five goals and added four assists while primarily flanking McDavid and opposite Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the Oilers' top line. While there's certainly no guarantee he takes the spot again, Edmonton hasn't added any wingers worthy of competing for that role.

Monitor his usage in training camp and preseason, and if he's still with McDavid, scoop him up as a final-round flier. A 25-goal season is possible.

C/RW Nick Bjugstad, Panthers

Bjugstad is far down the list of the Florida Panthers' fantasy-relevant players, but he could be in for a monster season, which is fitting because, at 6-foot-6 and 218 pounds, he's a monster himself.

Like many of the Panthers, Bjugstad had an excellent second half, tallying 10 goals and 27 points in his final 34 games. That second-half surge started right around the time he joined forces on a line with superstar center Aleksander Barkov.

Given how much firepower the Panthers have, a full year alongside Barkov could result in a 60-point season for Bjugstad.

LW/RW Valentin Zykov, Hurricanes

Zykov is the rookie nobody will be talking about.

A second-round pick in 2013, Zykov, now 23, is older than most rookies who will be making headlines, but he's a darkhorse Calder Trophy candidate. He led the AHL with 33 goals last year despite only suiting up in 63 games. In his 10-game audition with the Carolina Hurricanes last year, he tallied seven points while averaging less than 14 minutes of ice time.

The Hurricanes have a lot of young talent up front, but with Jeff Skinner likely on his way out, there could be a spot for Zykov in the top-six. With his upside, he's more than worthy of taking a flier on in the final round.

D Ryan Pulock, Islanders

Pulock's biggest weapon is his shot. He has an absolute bomb from the point, and he isn't afraid to use it. He scored 10 goals on 184 shots last year and both of those numbers could rise drastically this season.

Among defenseman who played at least 500 minutes at even strength last year, Pulock ranked third in shots per 60 minutes, trailing only Brent Burns and Dougie Hamilton, according to Natural Stat Trick.

With Calvin de Haan departing in free agency and Johnny Boychuk getting on in age, Pulock could see much more ice time in his second full season, and it could result in a 15-goal, 45-point campaign.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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