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(PART 1 - EASTERN CONFERENCE)
Here are some fellows from the Western Conference worth a look-see in your upcoming playoff pool draft.
The Obvious: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne and Chris Pronger.
Not So Obvious: Selanne has just 23 points in his last 33 games…Giguere has started just three of the last 13 games and was pulled in his last one…
Dark Horses: Andrew Ebbett has quietly put up decent numbers after winning a job on the second line. If the Ducks go to the third round, Ebbett will have 10 points…Both Ryan Whitney and James Wisniewski are scoring at a 45-point clip since joining the Ducks. The two rearguards should continue that in the postseason…Jonas Hiller will probably be the surprise No.1 goalie for Anaheim, so steer clear of Giguere.
The Obvious: Jarome Iginla, Mike Cammalleri, Olli Jokinen, Daymond Langkow, Miikka Kiprusoff and Dion Phaneuf.
Not So Obvious: Jokinen has never played a playoff game before in the NHL and in 15 games with Calgary he has been held off the scoresheet in nine of them. Of the six games he did put up points, four of them were multi-point efforts including a five-point game…In the 12 games that he played with Jokinen as a teammate (taking his No.1 center job), Daymond Langkow has just six points.
Dark Horses: Rene Bourque is having a career season and he will be back in the lineup in time to play in a playoff game…If you like Calgary to go deep, Jamie Lundmark makes an excellent pick for the late rounds. He’ll give you a point every two games.
The Obvious: Martin Havlat, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell.
Not So Obvious: Havlat is a Band-Aid Boy. Pick him and you could get a point per game out of him. Whether it’s all the games or zero games will depend on his shoulder…In 40 games since spraining his ankle, Kane has just 25 points (or a 50-point pace)…Versteeg has just nine points in his last 25 games. Move him down your list.
Dark Horses: Andrew Ladd has 42 points in his last 66 games and has playoff experience…He’s slumping a bit now, but from the end of January through the end of March, defenseman Cam Barker had 21 points in 24 contests.
The Obvious: Rick Nash, Kristian Huselius, Steve Mason.
Not So Obvious: Jason Williams has 28 points in 35 games with Columbus…Antoine Vermette has 11 points in 13 games with Columbus…Since returning from a bout with mononucleosis (and playing with it), Mason has watched his GAA rise from 2.09 to 2.25. His SP has dipped from .924 to .918…
Dark Horses: Derick Brassard will play in Game 6 or Game 7 of the first round if the team’s back is against the wall. He was their top scorer early in the season…RJ Umberger had 10 goals in 17 playoff games last year for Philadelphia.
The Obvious: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen, Brian Rafalski and Niklas Lidstrom.
Not So Obvious: Not only does Franzen have 14 points in his last eight games, but he had 18 points in 16 playoff games last year…Hossa had 26 points in 20 playoff games last year… Jiri Hudler has just five points in his last 19 games.
Dark Horse: Daniel Cleary had just three playoff points last year, but 12 the year before. What will we see this year? Boom or bust pick…Someone to pick up in the later rounds is Ville Leino. If any top Red Wing goes down with an injury, Leino will not only fill in for him but he will also post a point per game…Defenseman Nik Kronwall has 33 points in his last 36 games. He is a huge dark horse.
The Obvious: Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Nicklas Backstrom and Marian Gaborik.
Not So Obvious: Koivu is pointless in his last seven…Antti Miettinen has just seven points in his last 24 games – do not pick…Bouchard is out with a concussion…
Dark Horses: Owen Nolan has 27 points in his last 29 games. The problem is, he gets hurt often. However, the warrior should be fine for a playoff run and makes a great pick…Defenseman Marek Zidlicky has six points in his last six games and has had a couple of tastes of postseason action.
The Obvious: JP Dumont, Jason Arnott, Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan.
Not So Obvious: Sullivan has 23 points in his last 21 games…All of Dumont, Arnott and Weber have slowed after the 20-game mark. The team started buckling down defensively at around that point…
Dark Horses: Defenseman Ryan Suter has 13 points in his last 16 contests…Pekka Rinne has started 47 of the last 58 games and has carried this team. His 28-13-4 record with seven shutouts, 2.28 GAA and .921 SP compares closely to the higher touted fellow rookie Steve Mason…Rookie Cal O’Reilly will get a point per game when Arnott is hurt, but a point every three games when Arnott plays.
The Obvious: Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Devin Setoguchi, Joe Pavelski, Milan Michalek, Dan Boyle and Evgeni Nabokov.
Not So Obvious: Despite the negativity about Thornton’s poor playoff record, he played one postseason with broken ribs (for Boston) and in 2006 he played through an injury as well. Despite that, he has 30 points in his last 35 playoff games. Still beneath his level, but not as bad as people make it out to be…
Dark Horses: Ryane Clowe had eight points in the first round last year before running into a hot goalie in the second…I don’t know how many times you want to bang your head on the wall with this guy, but Jonathan Cheechoo has potential to put up the points. Even last spring his playoff numbers were relatively decent.
The Obvious: Brad Boyes, David Backes, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, Keith Tkachuk and Andy McDonald.
Not So Obvious: Paul Kariya will be back probably some time in the first round. He is the best player on this team…Perron still struggles to get ice time and it may be even worse in the postseason. His current three-game pointless streak won’t help that any.
Dark Horses: TJ Oshie plays the perfect game for the postseason. His tenacity and spark will really be noticed. He also has 14 points in his last 14 contests…Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has 29 points in 60 games for the Blues. Finally managing to stay healthy, he will run the power play.
The Obvious: Roberto Luongo, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Mats Sundin, Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra.
Not So Obvious: Sundin is barely on a 55-point pace. He is a playoff warrior, but still – don’t overrate…Kesler has 19 points in his last 18 games…Demitra has a very solid playoff history, with the exception of 2008 and 2004 he has always put up decent postseason numbers.
Dark Horses: Alex Burrows has been arguably the team’s best player in the last two months. He has 25 points in his last 23 games and brings all the elements of a playoff warrior…Injuries hold Sami Salo’s point totals down, but when he plays he is a lock for a point every two games…
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