Mar 11, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Patric Hornqvist (27) during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Patric Hornqvist Named No. 1 Fantasy Sleeper By NHL.com

James Neal is no longer with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and is no longer Evgeni Malkin‘s winger.

That job – at first glance – now belongs to Patric Hornqvist, who was acquired in the Neal trade, and is expected to eventually be Malkin’s right-winger.

What does that do for Hornqvist’s fantasy hockey value? Well, one can only predetermine how his production’s going to look. And some sites have him already ranked as a top fantasy sleeper for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign.

According to NHL.com’s Fantasy Insider, Pete Jensen, he has Hornqvist rated as his No. 1 sleeper for next season, no matter if he’s lined up with Malkin or Sidney Crosby.

Jensen has Hornqvist, who produced 53 points (22G, 31A) last season with Nashville, projected to register 69 points (36G, 33A), which would be a new career-high by 16 points for him.

Hornqvist is anticipated to drop big numbers because he’s an avid net presence, and takes a handful of shots, per Jensen. The right-hander took 248 shots last season, and considering both Crosby and Malkin are inclined to get everyone but themselves involved, expect him to raise that total this season.

Hornqvist is also polled into a category on NHL.com titled “Which fantasy sleeper would you most likely draft?” As it stands, he sits in second behind the Lightning’s young talent, Jonathan Drouin, and ahead of the Blues’ Jori Lehtera, Blue Jackets’ Nathan Horton, Stars’ Valeri Nichushkin, and Wild’s Mikael Granlund.

If Hornqvist can post 53 points on an extremely offensively-absent squad like Nashville, he can certainly put up that type of production and more with Pittsburgh.

Especially in the Pens’ top-six.

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