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Playoff perception vs. reality: Eastern Conference

Thursday, 07.19.2012 / 11:28 AM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

By Pete Jensen - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Playoff perception vs. reality: Eastern Conference
NHL.com breaks down two names from each 2012 West playoff team, assessing how their performance will impact their fantasy value entering next year.

While the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs mark the end of the fantasy hockey season each year, individual postseason performances often have a lasting impact from a fantasy standpoint heading into the following season.

FANTASY PERCEPTION VS. REALITY

In some cases, notable playoff performances -- such as those of Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar, Henrik Lundqvist, Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby this spring -- come from top-tier regular season fantasy producers, boosting their already strong fantasy profiles heading into next season. But, when digging deeper into the playoffs in hindsight, it's impossible to ignore all the memorable showings that were much less expected -- for better or worse.

After breaking down two of the most compelling names from each 2012 Western Conference playoff team earlier this week, NHL.com now takes a look at the Eastern Conference. We'll evaluate each player's postseason and determine whether or not the perception of their performances is reality -- in terms of fantasy value.


Chris Kreider
Chris Kreider
2012 PLAYOFFS - Left Wing - NYR
Goals: 5 | Assists: 2 | Pts: 7
Shots: 29 | +/-: -4
NEW YORK RANGERS

Chris Kreider, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Reality

Has never played a regular season NHL game, yet this 21-year-old will be on the fantasy map after his breakout postseason (5 G, 2 A, minus-4, 29 SOG in 18 games). Marian Gaborik is likely to miss start of season, so look for Kreider to use his quickness and sizable frame to create chances as a top-six forward for New York.

Derek Stepan, F

Playoff Impression: Negative

Verdict: Perception

The Rangers' offense was stagnant at times during the playoffs, and Stepan's dry spell didn't help matters (1 G, 8 A, minus-2, 38 shots in 20 games). But with improving distributing skills, Stepan should be a 60-point player as the team's second-line center behind Brad Richards.


Rich Peverley
Rich Peverley
Center - BOS
GOALS: 11 | ASST: 31 | PTS: 42
SOG: 112 | +/-: 20
BOSTON BRUINS

Rich Peverley, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Perception

Missed 19-game stretch in regular season with a knee injury, but rebounded nicely to lead team in postseason scoring (3 G, 2 A, even rating in 7 games). Plus-20 regular season rating was a treat for his owners, but Peverley has never been consistent enough to warrant high fantasy consideration. He's reached the 20-goal, 50-point mark only once in his career.

Patrice Bergeron, F

Playoff Impression: Negative

Verdict: Perception

Bergeron's oblique injury and low point-production (0 G, 2 A in 7 playoff games) certainly didn't aid Boston's struggling offense in the team's first-round set against Washington. Recovery time should get him back on track for 2012-13, as last season (22 G, 42 A, led League with plus-36 in 81 games) marked his best point output since the 2006-07 season (70).


Sean Bergenheim
Sean Bergenheim
Left Wing - FLA
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 23
SOG: 185 | +/-: -5
FLORIDA PANTHERS

Sean Bergenheim, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Perception

After scoring nine goals and 11 points during Tampa Bay's deep playoff run in 2010-11, Bergenheim led the Panthers in scoring this past spring (3 G, 3 A, 3 PPP, 24 SOG in 7 games). But despite his knack for playoffs heroics, needs to reach 20-goal and 40-point marks in his career before he can be called a fantasy commodity.

Dmitry Kulikov, D

Playoff Impression: Negative

Verdict: Perception

Underwent knee surgery in January, but returned in March and suited up in all seven playoff games for Florida. While the 21-year-old didn't provide the team with much of a postseason lift (0 G, 1 A, minus-4, 4 PIM, 15 SOG), his regular season totals in many categories exceeded his 2010-11 production despite 14 less games played. If he remains with the Panthers and stays healthy, he could compile 10-plus goals, 40-plus points and 20-plus PPP next season.


Jordan Staal
Jordan Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 25 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 50
SOG: 149 | +/-: 11
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Jordan Staal, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Reality

Missed 20 regular-season games due to injury last season, but still managed to post the most balanced stat line of his career (25 G, 25 A, plus-11, 149 SOG) before turning in an outstanding postseason for Pittsburgh (6 G, 3 A, plus-2 in 6 games). No longer a third-line center behind Crosby and Malkin, Staal should emerge as one of the League's most dynamic power-play forces next season for Carolina alongside his brother, Eric Staal.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G

Playoff Impression: Negative

Verdict: Perception

Fleury was a regular season workhorse (2.36 GAA, .913 SV%, 2nd in NHL with 42 wins in 67 appearances), but the playoffs were a different story, as he allowed 26 goals in six games to seal the Penguins' first-round exit. Expect his postseason woes to serve as a wake-up call. With added motivation and talent still around him on both ends of the ice, there's every reason for him to put forth top-10 fantasy goalie-type production.


Ilya Bryzgalov
Ilya Bryzgalov
Goalie - PHI
RECORD: 33-16-7
GAA: 2.48 | SVP: 0.909
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Ilya Bryzgalov, G

Playoff Impression: Negative

Verdict: Reality

Bryzgalov's postseason output spoke for itself, as the 32-year-old allowed three or more goals in 10 of 11 playoff appearances. The Flyers' offensive prowess (T-2nd in NHL with 3.17 goals per game in '11-12) will enable him to earn wins and keep his value in the top-15 range among goalies, but his goals-against average (2.48 in reg. season, 3.46 in playoffs) and save percentage (.909 in reg. season, .887 in playoffs) make him a fantasy liability.

Danny Briere
, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Perception

Finished tied for the League-lead in playoff goals (8 G, 5 A, minus-6 in 11 postseason games) -- even with the Flyers only venturing into the second round. Churned out seven or more playoff goals for the fifth time of his career. But, considering Briere was in the lineup for 70 games last season, it's concerning as a fantasy owner to see big drop-offs in goals, points, shots and PIMs.


Adam Henrique
Adam Henrique
Center - NJD
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 35 | PTS: 51
SOG: 130 | +/-: 8
NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Adam Henrique, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Reality

Hit rookie wall at times during regular season, but produced points at huge junctures of the postseason for New Jersey (5 G, 8 A, plus-12, 11 PIM, 40 SOG in 24 games). Should take on a heightened responsibility after departure of Zach Parise, and will be a 25-goal, 60-point fantasy threat entering 2012-13.

Bryce Salvador, D

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Perception

Second among blueliners in scoring during playoffs (4 G, 10 A, plus-9, 26 PIM in 24 games), but remains to be seen if veteran blueliner can replicate that point production over course of an entire season. Has never compiled more than 16 points in a single season in his career. Posted no goals and nine assists in 82 games last regular season.


Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby
2012 PLAYOFFS - Goalie - WSH
RECORD: 7-7
GAA: 1.95 | SVP: 0.935
WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Braden Holtby, G

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Reality

After making only seven regular season appearances (4-2-1, 1 SO), Holtby cemented himself as Washington's goaltender of the future with stellar postseason numbers (1.95 GAA, .935 SV%). This 22-year-old could easily make 50-plus starts and win 30-plus games if he grasps the Capitals' starting job in 2012-13.

Dennis Wideman, D

Playoff Impression: Negative

Verdict: Perception

Struggled in offensive zone for Caps this spring (0 G, 3 A, minus-7 in 14 playoff games), but put forth second highest point total of career in regular season (11 G, 35 A -- 13th in League among d-men, 20 PPP). Should anchor power-play initiative with fresh start in Calgary.


Chris Neil
Chris Neil
Right Wing - OTT
GOALS: 13 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 28
SOG: 127 | +/-: -10
OTTAWA SENATORS

Chris Neil, F

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Reality

Gritty forward compiled 13 goals, 28 points, 127 SOG and 178 PIM (4th in NHL) in 72 regular season games last season. Answered the call for the Senators in the playoffs as well (2 G, 1 A, plus-2, 22 PIM in 7 games), proving his value can skyrocket if he finds a way to reach 20 goals and maintain his PIM production in 2012-13.

Craig Anderson
, G

Playoff Impression: Positive

Verdict: Perception

Went toe-to-toe with Lundqvist in the ECQF, posting a 2.00 GAA, .933 save percentage and 1 SO in seven games. Has shown signs of promise ever since trade from Colorado and won 33 games last season for Ottawa, but won't crack the preseason top-15 fantasy goalie list until he improves on his regular season goals-against average (2.84) and save percentage (.914) from a season ago.



Follow Pete Jensen on Twitter: @NHLJensen; Join in the conversation: @NHLFantasy
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