We all know the Usual Suspects, but there are some teams flying under the radar right now that could do some serious damage come playoff time and they aren't getting the revere they perhaps deserve, and that's probably fine by them.
In the West...
With only one regulation loss in their last ten games, and missing top-tier power forward Christ Stewart and leas year's coveted pick-up Petr Mueller the Avalance have made a couple moves, notably acquiring Tomas Fleischmann who has been lights out for the West's top scoring team...when fully healthy these guys are really going to give the Nux a run for the Northwest, and should be considered a real cup threat.
Currently in the final playoff spot but with games in hand the Kings have the third best goals for/against differential in the west. This team is solid top to bottom in all aspects of the game, especially team-d, as they lead the west in goals against: that makes them a serious contender, one that many have forgotten about since they fell from the top of the heap after an early hot start. They only have to hold on to that eighth spot to have a shot at the cup.
Although not necessarily a sleeper as they have been a high profile team for many years the Sharks haven't performed up to expectations this season and find themselves in sixth in the West, but there top nine forwards are as good as any in the league, and when they hit stride lookout. They need to add a d-man and seem to be in the goalie market. Shoring up either of these departments will remind everybody why they have been favourites for years and still should be.
In the East...
The competition isn't as tight in the East so it's hard to say many teams are even sleepers for cup contention but one team has made themselves one by uterrly and completely bombing, losing eight straight games, the Washington Capitals. They are in such bad shape Bruce Boudreau is rumored to be on the hot seat: who saw that coming? I think people are forgetting that this team is too good, and maybe too young, so I think their young d-corps and youthful goaltending tandem will come around and this team will go on a late tear...don't count out the Great Eight.