Thursday, April 15, 2010

NHL Role Players to Watch

Ok. So maybe it doesn't count since a couple of Western Conference games happened last night, but I didn't get a chance to watch them and only looked at the box scores on my crackberry this morning. In any event, here's a couple more players to watch.

Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks. Joe is one of those good all around players. He's responsible defensively and can also pot a couple goals for his club. Should the big Thornton, Marleau, Heatley line be broken up, he'll be one of the first players to get playing time with one of those big guns.

Darcy Tucker, Colorado Avalanche. A feisty guy with the ability to agitate, and playoff experience (even if that was pre-lockout with the Leafs). Watch him get under the opposing team's skin.

Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes. The single most important guy currently on the team that wasn't just called up from the minors. The team leader in points out of all the players that started the season in Phoenix. He's going to have to keep up that pace, as well as leading by example against the Wings. The addition of Wojtek Wolski should give him a little bit of breathing room on the ice.

Darren Helm, Detroit Red Wings. One of their grinders. He might not see a whole lot of playing time with Zetterberg or Datsyuk, but he is one of the guys that does the dirty work and bangs around the other team's d-men. Expect him to excel in the series against Phoenix.

Christian Ehrhoff, Vancouver Canucks. One of the top d-men for the Canucks now that Willie Mitchell is sidelined. Should get a little more playing time if the Canucks get a good lead on the Kings, so they can rest the banged up Sami Salo. He gets some PP time, and will have ample opportunity to pick up assists getting the puck to Burrows and the Sedin Twins.

Rob Scuderi, Los Angeles Kings. He was brought in for two reasons: playoff experience and shot blocking abilities. It's his turn to show the young guys, like Doughty and Simmonds, on the Kings what playoff hockey is all about. He'll be solid, despite playing against the other teams top players.

David Legwand, Nashville Predators. He has only have playoff experience with Nashville, which were all first round exits. Not that he ever plays down, but that should make him much more hungry to advance, much like Jason Arnott who is nearing the end of his career. He plays a hard nosed game and goes hard to the net. His physical play should work well against the Hawks.

Dave Bolland, Chicago Blackhawks. The second line center behind Toews and filling that role nicely. Has a good ability to dish the puck to line mates and pot a couple goals. Spent most of the season out with a back injury, but has been steadily improving his play since returning. He was also one of the more solid Hawks playing between Havlat and Sharp on their run to the Conference Finals last season.

All of these players' cards and more can be purchased through

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