Nicklas Lidstrom, 40, has eight points in 10 playoff games this season. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
We always like to wax poetic around the THN campus, bringing up names from the past and comparing players of different eras. That’s what we’re doing with the Top 10 today, just taking a shorter view of things.
This week’s Top 10 is looking at the past 10 post-seasons (2000 through Tuesday’s 2010 games) and ranks the highest cumulative scorers. Not surprisingly, post-lockout players have had some better years, but longevity and year-over-year success trumps all.
Here is THN.com’s Top 10 scorers of the past 10 post-seasons:
10. Sidney Crosby, C; Pittsburgh – 79 points
‘The Kid’ leads off here despite the fact he’s only had four playoffs prior to this year to garner points. What he lacks in longevity, however, he makes up for in sheer production with a 1.4 points-per-game average for his career.
9. Chris Drury, C; Colorado, Calgary, Buffalo, NY Rangers – 80 points
The bloom has left the rose, what with Drury signing an outrageous contract with the Rangers in 2007 and not breaking the 60-point mark since. But Drury has a history of being clutch in the playoffs, as his inclusion here proves.
8. Marian Hossa, RW; Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago – 81 points
He’s been snake-bitten in terms of picking the wrong horse the past two seasons, losing in the final both years. But Hossa’s production since 2000 has been great, especially lately; 48 of his points have come in the past three years.
7. Chris Pronger, D; St. Louis, Edmonton, Anaheim, Philadelphia – 87 points
The nastiest NHLer around also is one of the best playoff performers in recent memory. His 21 points led eighth-seeded Edmonton in scoring in 2006, as the Oilers skated all the way to the Cup final. A year later, he led all Anaheim blueliners in scoring as the Ducks won the Cup.
6. Scott Gomez, C; New Jersey, NY Rangers, Montreal – 89 points
He isn’t old, but the playmaking center made his playoff debut in 2000 as a 20-year-old and has missed the playoffs just once since then. Twice he’s reached 14 playoff points, his career best. By virtue of more goals scored, Henrik Zetterberg beats out Gomez for fifth on the list.
5. Henrik Zetterberg, LW; Detroit – 89 points
Pre-lockout, ‘Hank’ had just five playoff points. Post-lockout he has 84 through Game 3 of the second round. He’s played a lot of games during that time, but he’s also been a top-notch performer, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2008.
4. Peter Forsberg, C; Colorado, Philadelphia, Nashville, Colorado – 92 points
The old warrior slowed down post-lockout, thanks in large part to injuries. But in the first half of the ‘aughts,’ he was lights-out in the playoffs, averaging 1.2 points-per-game, including leading the 2002 post-season in scoring after not playing a single regular season game.
3. Joe Sakic, C; Colorado – 94 points
No surprise here. Sakic always raised his game in the spring, even leading the playoffs in scoring with 26 points in 2001 en route to Colorado’s second Stanley Cup.
2. Brian Rafalski, D; New Jersey and Detroit – 95 points
Considering Rafalski hasn’t played fewer than five games in any of the past 10 post-seasons, it’s no wonder he’s on this list. He has averaged 0.61 points-per-game during his regular season NHL career and upped that in the playoffs…so it adds up.
1. Nicklas Lidstrom, D; Detroit – 96 points
It’s fitting the greatest European NHLer is at the top of this Top 10. Yes, he’s a defenseman, but their percentage of points scored always goes up in the playoffs and Lidstrom has played in each of the past 10 playoffs, bowing out in the first round just three times.
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