Next up in the 2023 Fantasy Hockey Sleepers series is the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be an interesting team. I think they are on the cusp of getting back into the playoffs, but not quite good enough yet. The team made a lot of very good changes, bringing in durable players and leaving space for their young players to seize roles.
Last season was a bit of an anomaly. They struggled so mightily because of the mass amount of injuries. This season the Blue Jackets look primed to do some damage and have a number of players be relevant in fantasy. Some of the players are obvious picks that will be drafted in every pool, but we are going to look at three sleepers that could provide more value than you think.
Columbus Blue Jackets Sleepers for 2023-24 Fantasy Hockey
The Blue Jackets didn’t get much help last season in terms of scoring goals, but the young players have another year of professional experience under their belts now. Who you should have your sights on from the top six is Kirill Marchenko. He’s a fairly new name as he was a rookie in 2022-23. The sniper finished with an astonishing 21 goals and four assists in 59 games.
His shooting percentage wasn’t outrageous either and could be replicated. Marchenko could very well get the chance to play some big and important minutes on the top line if the Blue Jackets decide to spread out the scoring a bit. Patrik Laine would be the one moving down to the second line, or he could get injured which he regularly does. With Marchenko’s scoring ability, he will be fed the puck by one of the top playmakers in the game in Johnny Gaudreau. If that isn’t a recipe for success, then I don’t know what is. Marchenko will either go in the late rounds or maybe not at all. Don’t miss your chance to jump on him late since he has a lot of upside this season.
The Blue Jackets have a lot of options on defense, but after what was shown last season, Adam Boqvist might have the upper hand in winning a top-four spot in the lineup. The 23-year-old should play alongside Ivan Provorov on the right side and has a good amount of offensive upside. Last season was his third consecutive where he played exclusively in the NHL. Unfortunately, injuries have kept us from seeing his full potential in a full season.
This could be the year as you have to take chances in fantasy if you want to win. Boqvist doesn’t have to be one of your top defensive picks, but not only could he put up 45 points in a season, he will get power-play time on the second unit. Last season he scored five goals and 24 points in just 46 games, but has 75 points in 175 career games. That is good for such a young defenseman in the NHL on a poor team to this point. If he continues on his trajectory and plays the full season, he is a very sneaky sleeper pick.
Damon Severson was selected higher than he should’ve been in last year’s drafts. This was because he is a top-four defenseman who got pushed to the third pairing. This was not his fault either as he continued to play the game he always has. Playing on the third pairing dropped his offensive numbers, but in Columbus, he has a chance to regain them.
Severson will be the top-pairing defenseman on the right side and play beside Zach Werenski, a strong offensive defenseman. Severson is good at both ends of the ice. Playing more and playing more meaningful minutes with the top six on the ice will automatically increase his points this season. He put up 11 goals and 46 points in 2021-22 in the role he’s in right now with the Blue Jackets. Last season his numbers dropped to seven goals and 33 points with over three fewer minutes played. Expect mid-40s in points at the very least from Severson.
The Blue Jackets are definitely a team with some surprises for us. We hope that it is with these sleeper picks. But with a young and dynamic team, you never know how good it could get this season. Keep these players in mind during your fantasy draft and be sure to pick them if they are around. Next up, the New Jersey Devils.
Make sure to check out all of the sleepers and breakouts of the 2023 fantasy hockey season!