Most likely to Succeed is our newest series which points out one player from every team and explains why that player is poised to increase their point totals. While some teams may have more than one player likely to breakout and some none, we will focus on the ones who actually should improve with a full healthy season. File this article under a sleeper-type but sleepers would not be called that if people saw them coming.
The skill and power combination that is Wayne Simmonds make him incredibly appealing in mixed leagues. Last season he put up a healthy 116 penalty minutes in 78 games, a 40 PIM spike from the year before. He also increased his point totals from 23 to 40 as coach Terry Murray began trusting him a bit more than the season before and using him roughly 70 percent of the time with superstar Anze Kopitar and veteran scorer Ryan Smyth.
Thinking of Simmonds lining up next to those two for a full season makes our mouths water. Thinking of him matching those point increases makes us think sleeper, again.
If his development continues this relatively reasonable slope, we could be looking at 150 PIM and 50 points– relevant in most standard leagues. Considering his main competitors are injury prone Justin Williams and journeyman Brad Richardson, penciling Simmonds in for increased ice time seems logical. The Los Angeles Kings boast one of the strongest young lineups in the NHL and soon may rival that of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks.
Look out for the Kings next season, they are probably my top pick to join that higher plateau. A young nucleus and future stars generates plenty of fantasy value.