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Playoff Pool Party Crashers



Playoff Pool Party Crashers


With the first round starting to draw to a close many fantasy hockey owners are starting to get a feel for how their Stanley Cup Playoff Pool will shake-out.  Every year in the first round there is a group of players that has fantasy owners shaking their head, and wondering where that player came from.  This year is similar to past years when looking at the playoff statistical leaderboard.  There is a few guys that you did not expect to see.  Here is a rundown of each positional playoff pool party crasher. 


Center: Tyler Johnson – Tampa Bay Lightning

Having Tyler Johnson on the playoff point’s leaderboard is really not a surprise, but this year he was a bit of a forgotten soldier.  In the regular season he posted 14 goals, 24 assists, for 38 points.  Not too bad, but he had a little bit of an injury plagued season in which he only played 35 games.  He was a bit of a question mark coming into the playoffs because of a upper body injury.  Since day one of the playoffs he has been producing.  He has 2 goals, 5 assists for 7 points in just 4 playoff games. Very impressive.  If he stays healthy he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.


Right Wing: Reilly Smith – Florida Panthers

Okay no one saw this coming.  We all knew that Smith was a serviceable NHL forward that could put up points, but the impact that he has had so far is shocking to say the least.  In the regular season Smith posted an impressive 25 goals, 25 assists for 50 points in 82 games played.  Thus far in the playoffs Smith has 4 goals, 4 assists for 8 points in 4 games.  No one expected him to be a two point a game player.  Will he be able to keep up this pace?


Left Wing: Jonathan Drouin – Tampa Bay Lightning

Drama pretty much sums up the regular season for Drouin and the Lightning.  After being unhappy about his playing time he demanded a trade, and his wish was not granted.  He eventually reported to the AHL, and now (after mending fences) finds himself in the Lightning lineup.  He not only is part of the lineup, he has been playing a intrical role in the Lightning’s success.  In five playoff games Drouin has managed 4 key assists.  This is not an earth shattering stat, but is when you think about the uncertainty that he would even play.  If his ice time stays up, so will his points.


Defense: Dmitry Kulikov – Florida Panthers

Well this is a head shaker.  Kulikov had just 1 goal, 16 assists for 17 total points in 74 regular season games this season.  This year in the playoffs he has 1 goal, 3 assists for 4 points in 4 games.  That is a point a game pace for a defenseman that has never been thought of as an offensive threat.  His ice time will continue to be good, and if Florida keeps up this offensive pace so will Kulikov.


Goalie: Frederik Andersen – Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks struggled out of the playoff gate with John Gibson between the pipes.  The reigns have now been handed over to Andersen, and he has been amazing.  He has allowed only one goal on 58 shots in the two games he has played.  He has one shutout and has astronomical stats.  A 0.50 goals against average, and a .983 save percentage.  Now we all know he will not be able to keep up this pace, but his performance has been a huge surprise since he was not even the playoff starter in Anaheim.  He has been a key reason the Ducks have been able to draw even in their series with Nashville.


* Photo Credit - USAToday Sports Images



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