The 2022 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs is reaching the halfway mark with two rounds complete and two left to go. There is one series left to be decided before the conference finals begin. At this point in the playoffs, if you’re participating in fantasy pools you’re either completely eliminated due to series results, or well on your way to winning a title.
The biggest factor in winning playoff fantasy pools is finding sleeper picks on underdog teams who have a chance at making long runs. Everyone picks the superstars, but the teams who nail their deeper picks are the ones who remain standing by the time the final four rolls around.
Here are some of the best sleeper picks in playoff fantasy pools so far.
Mike Smith – G – Edmonton Oilers
A perennial choker in the playoffs and with a tough path to the final, odds are most people didn’t select an Edmonton Oilers goalie in their pool. I mean after winning just one playoff game over the past two seasons why would you. After Mike Smith’s Game 1 gaffe in the Oilers first round series against the Los Angeles Kings, it seemed like this year was the same old for the Oilers and Smith come playoff time.
However here we are a month into the playoffs and with just 5 teams left standing, Smith currently sits with eight wins, a .927 save percentage and a 2.70 GAA. Not many would’ve picked the old man to be one of the NHL’s final four goalies playing, but he’s racked up the wins so far in the playoffs and has played surprisingly well for the most part. If you took a chance and picked him as one of your goalies, you’re crazy but it paid off.
David Perron – W – St. Louis Blues
Most people had the Blues pegged as a team who would get eliminated in Round 1. In other words, a team to stay away from when it came to selecting your fantasy team for the playoffs. However the veteran squad easily got past the Minnesota Wild in six games, and even took the juggernaut Avalanche to six games in Round 2.
His season may be over now, but David Perron provided a ton of value in his 12 games played considering how rarely he was most likely selected in pools. Perron was able to rack up nine goals and 13 points in his 12 games, and currently sits top 10 in playoff scoring. If you picked him in your pool, he got you some very valuable points in the first two rounds of the playoffs and the pick worked out even if he only lasted two rounds.
Zach Hyman – W – Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers are no doubt the surprise team of the playoffs. One of the main reasons for that outside of their two superstars, is the play of Zach Hyman. Hyman has been lights out in the playoffs so far, as seemingly everything he touches goes into the net.
Hyman currently sits with eight goals and 12 points in 12 games. His eight goals rank second in the playoffs thus far. No one would’ve predicted that when they were selecting their teams before the playoffs started. Now with another round on the horizon, Hyman has a very good chance to finish top two or three for goals in the playoffs, something that would’ve sounded crazy a month ago.
Teuvo Teravainen – W – Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes were certainly a popular Stanley Cup pick going into the playoffs. However, I don’t think many had Teuvo Teravainen leading the way offensively for the high powered Canes. On a team that features Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov, most Canes forwards selected in pools would’ve been those two.
However, if you looked deeper and took Teravainen, it’s certainly paying off right now. As mentioned, he leads the Canes in scoring with 11 points in 12 games thus far. With the team sitting just one win away from the conference final, Teravainen has a great shot at continuing to rack up points on a deep Canes team and finish top 10 in playoff scoring.
Gambling on some sleeper players in playoff fantasy pools is almost always the best way to win. Sure you may get crushed and be out of it after one round, but when it works out it, it works out in a big way. A surefire way to win a playoff pool is to have your sleeper picks go on deep runs in the playoffs, and if you’ve selected any of the above players on your team, there’s a good chance you’re right in the thick of things in your pool.
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