The fat lady hasn’t sung yet in every series this round, but we’ve seen enough to make some interesting observations that could give us an edge in offseason deals.
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa – He had six points in six games and was leading all the Sens in ice time by the end of it. This was on the heels of finishing the campaign with 12 points in 10 games. If healthy, he should get anywhere from 53 to 68 points next campaign. And so much more to come. He’s made us all believers.
John Carlson, Washington – The Caps are sitting veterans just to keep the rookie in the lineup. He’s killing penalties and still putting up points without the PP time. In fact – he’s been their No.1 penalty killer. He’ll be everything Mike Green is, but with a defensive conscience. For more on Carlson, see my THN article from last week.
Jack Johnson, Los Angeles – His minus-5 is pretty ugly, but he was a minus-15 in the regular season so his defensive lapses are not unexpected. They will iron out with experience. But the offense (six points in five games) are a nice surprise. Considering that he ended the season with six points in eight games, that gives him 12 in 13. That sample size is still small, but I would bet good money on him upping his point total next season by at least 25 percent.
Brian Boucher, Philadelphia – Basically, if Boucher can play as well in the second round as he did in the first round, even if he loses, he’s worth a flyer. Pardon the pun. Boucher is signed for next season and the team is pretty handcuffed as far as the cap goes. An impressive two rounds under the hot lamp that is the NHL playoffs will go a long way towards not only instilling confidence from the organization, but from within himself. The Flyers are such a good team that the wins will come. So Boucher getting even 50 starts will mean 30 wins.
Peter Regin, Ottawa – With four points in six games, Regin has shown that he can fit in as a complimentary player on one of the top two lines. Chances are he will see some time there through much of the regular season next year. That being said, I don’t think his upside is a whole lot higher than 60 or 65 points and I wouldn’t pencil him in for more than 40 for 2010-11. Still, that’s a nice jump from the 29 he had this year.
Tyler Ennis, Buffalo – My playoff dark horse, as those of you who bought my draft list know. The 20-year-old rookie has played 15 NHL regular season and playoff contests and he has 13 points. His ice time has been increasing during a time where it would normally be decreasing for rookies. Coach Lindy Ruff needs offense and we’re seeing who he is now turning to for it. My over/under on him next season is 60 points…and I think I’ll bet the “over”.
David Bolland, Chicago – I wouldn’t give up on this guy yet, as he seems to have “clutch” in his blood. But I really expected to see more out of him than two points in five games. Then again, the opposition is Nashville and scoring is not exactly easy.
Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh – With a meathead on one wing and stone-hands on the other, it’s no wonder Staal has just three points in six games. Still, hockey pools don’t accept excuses – only points. Staal could be a 75-point player, but that will never happen as a third-line center in Pittsburgh. The Pens will always struggle to acquire wingers with any skill due to the salary they poured into their centermen. What skill they do acquire will play with Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. So Staal will be held to no more than 60. The only thing that would change this is a long-term injury to one of the Big 2, because the Pens refuse to move one of their pivots to the wing.
Tomas Fleischmann, Washington – With one point in five playoff games, Fleischmann now has five in 21 for his career. He has 11 points in his last 28 regular season and postseason contests. He’s streaky, so I won’t let this impact my thoughts on how he will do in 2010-11, but I refused to pick him in any playoff pools this year – and I will refuse to pick him in any playoff pools next year.
Benoit Pouliot, Montreal – The coach stuck with him on the first line for three games, but he finally wore out his welcome. Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta were producing, but Pouliot was not. He has one point in five games. Turn that “one” into a “four” and the Habs would probably be up in the series right now. That’s how close the games have been.
Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey – He has 86 points in 137 career playoff games, including a couple of postseason runs in which he had 17 and 18 points. He had 28 points in his last 29 playoff contests heading into this spring. So it was a huge disappointment to see just a single point in five games.
Streaking at the right time…
Mikael Samuelsson, Vancouver – He’s always been streaky, at times looking like an 80-point player. He has nine points in five games on the heels of going pointless in five. That’s what you get from Samuelsson, so his incredible performance thus far doesn’t change my opinion of him any as far as 2010-11 goes.
David Legwand, Nashville – He had 18 points in 18 games between mid-November and mid-December. He had 15 in 46 after that. Now he has seven in five playoff games. We stopped falling for his teasing long ago.
Matt Cullen, Ottawa – Overall, Cullen is as consistent as they come. Five consecutive seasons of points between 40 and 49, and seven seasons overall in that range. But they have been interspersed with some very hot 20-game runs. His eight points in six postseason contests are nothing new for him, though they’ll get him a beauty of a paycheck this summer.
Ryane Clowe, San Jose – In 2008 Clowe had eight points in seven games in the first round, then one in six in Round 2. This year he has seven points in five games in Round 1. Glean from that what you will.