Home > NHL Playoffs, Uncategorized > [DY Trends] Playoff Edition: Spring Kings and Sleeping Giants

[DY Trends] Playoff Edition: Spring Kings and Sleeping Giants

Originally published on April 10, 2011 at DobberHockey as a feature in the April Roto Exclusive

Published at TSB on May 31st, 2011

As fantasy poolies make the transition from regular season to playoff action it is important to revisit players whose performances will change. DY Trends will take the time identify a few players who have (historically) displayed signs of heroism during the long grinding Stanley Cup run.

In this edition of DY Trends, you will be presented with five players who traditionally carry their teams during previous playoffs – known as “Spring Kings”. DY Trends will also look at a few players who could fly under-the-radar but have shown to be clutch performers in the past for their playoff teams.

SPRING KINGS

The Spring Kings are players of star status and their selections should not surprise anyone. Their playoff production speaks for itself and the Spring Kings will finish atop their teams’ scoring charts.

Spring King #1:
The decision to include the name “Alex Ovechkin was a difficult choice but his omission would have been unfair. It would have been nice to select a more uncommon go-to stud but after examining the statistics, it would be foolish to exclude this poster boy.

The Capitals have faced some deservingly harsh critism about their past playoff performances; however, the blame should not lie on the shoulders of Ovechkin. Over the past two post-seasons, Ovechkin has been a roto-monster. During the Capitals’ past two abbreviated post-seasons, Ovechkin has averaged the highest goals-per-game in both playoffs (0.79 G/G in 2008-09; 0.71 G/G in 2009/10) and posted a respectable pace for assists-per-game (0.71 A/G in both 2008-09 and 2009-10).

Fantasy poolies need to select AO if you are projecting the Capitals to advance past the first round.
Ovechkin

Spring King #2:
Martin St. Louis (RW) continues to get no respect around the NHL. For a second straight season, Marty finished the regular season with over 90 points and among the NHL’s Top 10 scorers. The Laval-native has experienced NHL playoff action four times in his twelve seasons and hoisted Lord Stanley’s cup once.

St. Louis has posted over a point-per-game in three of those four post-seasons (1.09, 1.04, and 1.33) and nearly attained the pace in the 2005-06 playoffs when he posted 0.80 points-per-game. Do not forget about the undersized engine that runs this Tampa Bay Lightning team when your playoff drafts begin. Heart-and-soul always rises to the top in post-season action.

Spring King #3:
Henrik Zetterberg enters the 2010-11 playoffs currently sidelined with an injury so his inclusion comes with a cautious warning. Zetterberg has been one of the best playoff performers in the past decade making it impossible to keep him off of this list. The versatile Red Wing brings everything he has to the rink each game and kindly fills all of your roto-category needs.

Over Detroit’s last two playoff runs, Zetterberg has averaged 0.53 goals-per-game, 0.62 assists-per-game, 3.66 shots-per-game, recorded 13 powerplay points and possesses a rating of plus-24. The Red Wings are always Stanley Cup contenders and if you have them advancing deep into the playoffs then selecting Zetterberg will not do you wrong.

Spring King #4:
Declaring the power-forward Corey Perry as a “fantasy monster” this season does not do him justice. The Peterborough-native was the major factor in the Anaheim Ducks’ late season surge into post-season action.
Anaheim was once a playoff outcast in the Western Conference and Perry was able to withstand the storm and propel the Ducks into fourth place in the West.

The 25-year-old right winger has drastically improved his fantasy stock this season; however, it’s important to recognize that Corey Perry has been improving each and every year. Perry’s performance this year resulted in him winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, which adds to his long list of career accomplishments. Those accomplishments are never ending and include: OHL Bantam AAA Cup Champion, OHL Cup Champion, Memorial Cup Champion (CHL), World Junior Champion, Stanley Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist.

The Anaheim Ducks’ last playoff appearance was in 2008-09 and Perry did not deviate from his multi-cat stud ways. In thirteen games, Perry registered eight goals ( 0.62 goals-per-game), fourteen points (1.08 points-per-game), thirty-six penalty minutes and forty-one shots on goal (3.16 shots-per-game). Corey Perry’s Anaheim Ducks will face off against the Nashville Predators in the first round and their success rests on the shoulders of Perry and his linemates.

Spring King #5:
Daniel Briere’s name does not jump to mind when you mention “studs” but when playoffs roll around it is difficult to find a player that will fill your roto-categories better than Briere. The Philadelphia Flyers most definitely fall into the category of “playoff contender” and its roster ices several players who could help your playoff team – namely Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Claude Giroux. However, drafting Briere may be the best bang-for-your-buck if your league counts powerplay points, shots-on-goal and penalty minutes.

Danny Briere was able to notch some fantastic playoff statistics in last years’ Stanley Cup run. Briere averaged 0.52 goals-per-game, 0.78 assists-per-game and 2.74 shots-on-goal to go along with his plus-9 rating and 18 penalty minutes in 23 games. The undersized fiesty winger led his Flyers in every roto-category last post-season (except plus-minus where he finished second to Ville Leino).

SLEEPING GIANTS

The Sleeping Giants’ selections are players who have a great track record during post-season action but may be entering the 2010-11 playoffs under-the-radar. Fantasy owners are fickle individuals at times and their recent memories often influence their decision-making processes. You would be wise to remember the following names regardless of their recent performances.

Sleeping Giant #1:
Simon Gagne has been playing good hockey over the past month making him a better-known “sleeper”. However, Gagne has traditionally performed better in the post-season than in the regular season and he could be easily forgotten.

In the past two post-season Stanley Cup runs, Gagne has proven to be a pure sniper come Spring time. Simon recorded 0.47 goals-per-game in 2009-10 and 0.50 goals-per-game with the Flyers’ during the 2008-09 post-season. Gagne is not only limited to providing your team with goals he will also provide your squad with approximately 3 shots-per-game in the post season as well. Gagne has never recorded a shots-on-goal pace lower than 2 shots-per-game in his playoff career.

Sleeping Giant #2:
At 5-foot 7-inches, Brian Gionta is probably the furthest thing from a “giant” but do not let him know that. Once playoff time appears, Brian Gionta simply shows up to compete. Gionta has the playoff experience and accolades (2002-03 Stanley Cup Champion -New Jersey Devils) that teams need when crunch time arises. Jaroslav Halak and Mike Cammalleri were the two heroes for the Canadiens last spring and that makes it even more critical to recognize what Gionta can bring to your roster as he flys under-the- radar.

Gionta finished second to only Cammalleri in goals (9), points (15) and led the Habs in shots-on-goal (70) last playoffs. Gionta’s contributions do not end there. The former Boston College star added five powerplay points and finished with 14 penalty minutes in 19 post-season games. Gionta brings it every post-season so let it bring it on your squad.

Sleeping Giant #3:
Johan Franzen is better known as “the Mule” in the streets of Detroit and the name becomes evident as the Red Wings make their annual playoff run each year. The large power-forward normally would not be considered a sleeper but Johan has been especially quiet in the final few months of the regular season (except that five goal game). Traditionally, Franzen is a strong second-half performer which usually translates into playoff production as well. With the injury status of Henrik Zetterberg still very much up in the air, Franzen will take on a more important playoff role.

What can Johan Franzen add to your playoff squad? The simple answer-everything. In the Red Wings’ past three playoffs, Franzen has either finished first or second in goals scored and has finished above or at a point-per-game pace. The peripheral categories are not too shabby either. The Mule sits at plus-29 with 190 shots and 21 powerplay points for Detroit in the past three playoffs. The Mule will carry your playoff team as long as Detroit stays in contention.

DY Trends recognizes that there are numerous players who could have easily made the lists above. The players chosen above are players with character and I firmly believe that the hockey players who play the game with grit and determination are the individuals who cement themselves as true playoff warriors year after year.

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