While it's tough to go wrong with any player in the early rounds, you have to be able to round out the depth of your roster with reliable players in the later rounds in order to have success in Fantasy hockey. Whether it's a youngster poised for a breakout campaign or a bounce-back effort from an aging veteran, getting your late-round picks right can be the difference between the sweet taste of victory and the stench of defeat. Here are 10 potential steals that should be available in the mid-to-late rounds of this year's drafts.
Suzuki was impressive as a rookie, racking up 13 goals and 41 points in 71 contests last year. He converted his shots at a reasonable 9.4 percent rate and worked his way into a top-six spot with a hearty role on the power play. While there's perhaps still some work to do defensively, Suzuki is poised to be the centerpiece of the Canadiens' offense heading into 2020-21. It wouldn't be surprising to see him top his rookie-year numbers even with a shortened 56-game campaign. The Ontario native will also contribute physically -- he had 64 hits last year, just under one per game. The 13th overall pick from the 2017 draft is poised for a breakout year in the NHL's North Division.
DeBrincat didn't make many fans last season when he produced just 45 points (18 goals, 27 helpers) in 70 games one year after a 41-goal, 76-point campaign. The steep decline in DeBrincat's third NHL season can almost wholly be attributed to his shooting percentage nosediving from 18.6 in 2018-19 to 8.7 in 2019-20. Still just 23 years old, Fantasy managers should assume the winger will see positive regression in 2020-21. If his shooting percentage bounces back to his career mark of 14.3 and he continues to see top-six duty, DeBrincat could produce at a top-100 pace with 20 goals and 45 to 50 points in the abbreviated 56-game campaign.
Kirill Kaprizov -- Minnesota Wild
Kaprizov signed with the Wild in July, finally making the leap to North America after six years in the KHL. The Russian winger shredded the competition in his home country last season, racking up 33 goals and 62 points in 57 contests with CSKA Moscow. In 293 career KHL games, Kaprizov has notched 113 goals and 117 helpers. The biggest question mark for the 5-foot-11 winger will be his linemates -- the Wild lack depth, particularly down the middle. That said, Kaprizov is expected to have a featured role, and a fairly favorable division schedule makes the 23-year-old an intriguing option in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts.
Coleman is a known quantity at this stage of his career -- he's a physical force with the talent to chip in roughly 30 points or so over the course of a full campaign. That's exactly what he did last year, picking up 21 goals, 11 assists and 191 hits in 66 regular-season contests split between the Devils and the Lightning. Coleman makes this list because of opportunity, as Nikita Kucherov (hip) is set to miss the entire regular season. The 29-year-old Coleman is not going to replace Kucherov's production, but he should be able to earn a role in the Lightning's top six without much difficulty. That will put Coleman in line for increased offensive production at even strength, and he could even earn a spot on one of Tampa Bay's power-play units. Combined with his usual rough-and-tumble style, the Plano, Texas native should make for a reliable depth winger in Fantasy leagues this season.
Zucker could once again be a hype train worth boarding now that he's found himself a spot alongside Evgeni Malkin on Pittsburgh's second line. After he was traded from Minnesota last year, Zucker racked up 12 points in 15 regular-season games with the Pens. He had 20 goals and 41 points in 60 contests overall, but a full year in an up-tempo offense such as Pittsburgh's bodes well for the 28-year-old. Even with a shortened season, the California-born Zucker could challenge for 20 goals and 45 points. Zucker's also been known to play on both wings -- if the scoring potential isn't enough to interest Fantasy managers, the versatility should make him an attractive option in the later rounds of drafts.
Hintz took the league by storm with 11 points in 16 games to start the 2019-20 campaign. Injuries and regression cooled the Finn off as the season progressed, but there's plenty to like about the speedy forward heading into 2020-21. For one, he plays in all situations, providing a boost in leagues that count shorthanded points. He's also essentially guaranteed a top-six role with Tyler Seguin (hip) out until at least April. Additionally, although he's a natural winger, Hintz could see more playing time at center this season. Hintz's versatility and potential to rack up 30-plus points in a 56-game campaign should be plenty appealing to Fantasy managers looking to add some scoring pop in the late rounds.
Don't be scared of Hronek's situation -- the Czech defenseman could be headed for a big showing in his third year. The Red Wings' defense corps has been massively overhauled, clearing the way for Hronek to shine in a top-pairing role. Last year, he had nine goals and 31 points in 65 contests, including 10 points on the power play. He also added a little non-scoring juice with 105 hits and 74 blocked shots. While the Red Wings will likely once again be awful this season, Hronek should lift his plus-minus rating from the abysmal minus-38 mark he posted in 2019-20. The shortened 2020-21 campaign will likely prevent him from reaching the 30-point mark again, but he probably won't be far off, and he's going to play a ton in all situations after averaging 23:54 of ice time per game last year.
Morrissey entered 2019-20 with a lot of uncertainty swirling around the Jets' blue line. He emerged as a top-pairing option, posting a second straight 31-point campaign. The Calgary native poses a slight injury risk, as he's missed 29 contests over the last two years. That said, with a much more stable role that should see him skate 22 minutes per game with ample power-play time, Morrissey has a fairly safe floor. Expect him to average roughly 0.5 points per game with solid if not standout non-scoring contributions to boot. Fantasy managers can do worse than the 25-year-old as a fourth or fifth defenseman in the later rounds of drafts.
John Gibson -- Ducks
Gibson is one of the true workhorses among NHL goalies, but last year, he stumbled to a 20-26-5 record with a 3.00 GAA and a .904 save percentage in 51 games. Entering his age-27 season, it's unlikely Gibson performs that poorly again in 2020-21. The Ducks are in a rebuilding race with their in-state rivals, the Kings and the Sharks, but Gibson provides a backbone that the other California teams just don't have. The Pittsburgh native will also have the benefit of only facing two or three truly dominant offenses in the eight-team West Division. Assuming the Ducks' defense takes a step forward, Gibson could provide remarkable value as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy goalie. Ryan Miller will hang around as a veteran backup, but he shouldn't eat into Gibson's playing time much.
Cam Talbot -- Wild
Talbot finished 2019-20 with a 12-10-1 record, a 2.63 GAA and a .919 save percentage, his best ratios since 2016-17. That wasn't enough for the Flames to re-sign him, but the Wild locked him in with a three-year contract. Originally set to split time with Alex Stalock (upper body), Talbot now finds himself as the likely workhorse starter for his new team. However, at 33 years old, it would be unwise to expect excellence out of Talbot in 2020-21. He's rarely been a dominant goalie, but Fantasy managers who want a lot of games out of their No. 3 netminder should target Talbot, because it's unlikely Kaapo Kahkonen or Andrew Hammond will challenge for more than 30 percent of the starting duties early on.