Stanley Cup Finals: Impact Player Draft

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As much as we try to spread the word about the glorious sport of hockey, we know that more often than not our words fall on deaf ears. We preach about the game, the athletes, the history and the fans but rarely do we or does the game get an increase in followers. Well, now is the perfect time to jump in.

by Peter Christian and Bryan Vickroy

The Stanley Cup Finals are a different breed of playoff hockey than the first 3 rounds. Now that the players are only four more victories from hoisting the most famous sports trophy in the history of the world they have a new sense of purpose. Players and coaches alike have a different vigor about them driving for the Cup.

In the Stanley Cup Finals it’s not always the biggest name players that show up. It’s not always the headliners. Anyone can be an impact player in the finals. We decided the best way to let you know who to watch was to do a fantasy draft of players who will likely have a major impact on the series. Who doesn’t like a fantasy draft?

Our rules for the draft were simple: 8 players, no roster requirements. We selected the players in order that we believed their impact would be on the series. Bryan had the first pick and we proceeded in serpentine fashion.

pronger

1. Chris Pronger D Flyers

(BV) Pronger was specifically brought in by the Philly brass in order to help the Flyers win a Stanley Cup. His hulking presence allows the Flyers to wear down opponents’ top lines, slow down the pace of play, and literally shut down his half of the ice.

2. Jonathan Toews C Blackhawks

(PC) The leading scorer of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Toews is scorching hot right now. He’s already taken hold with his 13 (and counting) game post season scoring streak. He’s been the chief pace setter for the Hawks. Then again, as captain, that’s kind of his job.

3. Marian Hossa W Blackhawks

(PC) This is Hossa’s third straight trip to the finals, with his third different team. If the third try will be the charm for Hossa, he will have to turn his solid play into more points.

4. Mike Richards C Flyers

(BV) The Flyer captain is second in scoring this postseason, and one of the more overlooked players in the league today. Wins big faceoffs, and loves to hang out below the dots in the offensive zone.

byfuglien

5. Dustin Byfuglien W Blackhawks

(BV) Buff has come into form this postseason, and found a knack to score game winning goals. Big and mean, this State of Hockey product should thrive if the Flyers control tempo.

6. Michael Leighton G Flyers

(PC) Since taking over for the injured Brian Boucher in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semis he’s been nearly unbeatable.  He’s allowed only 11 goals in just over seven and half game’s work. If he stays hot, Philly’s chances improve greatly.

duncan-keith

7. Duncan Keith D Blackhawks

(PC) The top blue liner for the Hawks is playing with 7 less teeth after taking a puck to the face in the Western Conference Finals but he’s still going to spend nearly half the game on the ice and make sure that the Flyers don’t get any odd man rushes at Antti Niemi.

8. Danny Briere C Flyers

(BV) Second leading goal scorer in the postseason has finally returned to his old form. Deceptive wrist shot and speed give an alternative to the usual Philly grind it out.

9. Claude Giroux W Flyers

(BV) Giroux who?  He has 8 goals this postseason, and is a whopping +10. The playmaker on Philly’s power play.

10. Patrick Kane W Blackhawks

(PC) The playoffs’ 3rd leading scorer is riding a 5 game point streak himself and has been very good at maintaining possession in the opponent’s zone. If the Flyers key on Toews, Kaner is more than able to step up and take the reigns of the top line.

sharpie

11. Patrick Sharp C Blackhawks

(PC) Sharpie likes to find the scoresheet in bunches and is due for a big game or two after being held in check versus San Jose. If the Flyers are going to try and out-muscle the Blackhawks top line, it’ll be up to Sharp and Hossa on the 2nd line to provide the offense.

12. Brent Seabrook D Blackhawks

(BV) The other half of Chicago’s top tandem, his skilled hands are an anchor to the special teams.  Jump starts the attack with deep breakout passes.

13. James van Riemsdyk W Flyers

(BV) Only a rookie, but has tons of postseason experience in a storied NCAA career. The second pick of the 2007 draft, behind Patrick Kane, has his first postseason goal, and wants some more.

His hair is mesmerizing, his hits are brain scrambling.

14. Scott Hartnell W Flyers

(PC) A major instigator for the New School Broad Street Bullies. Hartnell is one of those guys that gets under his opponent’s skin and causes them to make dumb decisions on the ice. He can also find the net if he’s ignored so whoever the Blackhawks task with manning Hartnell better have thick skin and long fuse.

15. Matt Carle D Flyers

(PC) The Hobey Baker winner in 2006 will see his share of ice time with Pronger which means that the Blackhawks will actively try and attack his side of the ice to try and stay out of Pronger’s reach. If he steps up to the challenge the Hawks offense could be thwarted before they even get through the neutral zone.

16. Brian Boucher G Flyers

(BV) Yes, he is injured. But he has started practicing again.  Philly is accustomed to goalies going down, and the next man in keeps on winning. Boucher is now on deck.

bolland

Other players to watch: Antti Niemi G Blackhawks, Dave Bolland C Blackhawks, Kimmo Timonen D Flyers, Jeff Carter C Flyers

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says:

    Did either of you guys watch NHL Network yesterday? Did you see that Rickey Gervais reporter I was talking about? I DVRed their media day coverage, and that dude was everywhere in all their shots.

    There’s a nice screen time of me right next to him talking to Jeff Carter

  2. Jesse Alam says:

    Hasn’t everyone gotten tired of this crap by now?

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