2013 NHL Playoff Payoff

by Scott Cullen, TSN.ca

Playoff hockey begins Tuesday and this year's Playoff Payoff once again has the numbers and information to help you win your playoff pool.

When it comes to playoff pools, the basic strategy is simple: pick players from the four teams you think will reach the Conference Finals; that will give the players selected ample opportunity to score enough points for your squad. It's very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to win without having a solid presence among the final four teams because no matter how many points get accumulated in early rounds, if your team runs out of active bodies before the Conference Finals, it's going to be extremely challenging to hold the lead.

Letang, Kunitz, Crosby, Photo: The Canadian Press

Naturally, the focus will be on top seeds and there is nothing wrong with loading up on players from Chicago and Pittsburgh if you can get quality players. At the same time, it needs to be recognized that there is not a huge difference in quality between the rest of the playoff teams, so there's likely going to be plenty of value to be found on lower-seeded teams.

That doesn't mean ignoring the blue chip players -- top players on the favourite teams are the most valuable -- but it does suggest that once you have laid the groundwork with players from higher-seeded teams, then there ought to be an opportunity to secure value on lower seeds.

There will come a time, at some point in your draft, that you have to decide whether you would rather have the best player on a low seed or a lesser player on a top seed and the answer will probably come by looking at the players you've already selected.


If you can take the best player off a lower seed, and it won't contradict any of your early picks, then it's likely a good move. If you don't have representation on a highly-seeded team already, it's generally not worth it to start investing in lower-tier players.

If you decide to go in on the Canucks late, for example, and you can get Mason Raymond and Jason Garrison, there isn't a great chance that you are going to be able to make much of a difference against the teams that loaded up early on the Sedins, Ryan Kesler, Derek Roy, Alex Burrows and Alex Edler.


Just as with the real teams involved, injuries are always a factor in fantasy sports, so it's imperative to stay on top of the playing status of top players heading into the postseason, both for the potential line combinations and having some idea who might be filling in if a significant player remains sidelined.

NHL teams are notorious for being vague or even dishonest regarding injuries at the best of times, let alone at this point in the season, but you may want to avoid, or at least decrease the value of, guys who are already going into the playoffs with injuries.

The league's biggest and brightest star, Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, is the most obvious one to monitor. Crosby is recovering from a broken jaw and while it doesn't appear that he will return before the end of the regular season, he hasn't yet been ruled out of Game One in the playoffs. Crosby's status will ripple througout the Penguins' lineup, knocking Jussi Jokinen down the depth chart and boosting whichever wingers end up on his line, whether it's Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis or maybe Jarome Iginla will fine his way to play with Crosby.

Some other players to keep an eye on: Crosby's Pittsburgh teammate James Neal, Minnesota's Jason Pominville, the Rangers' Ryane Clowe, the Blues' T.J. Oshie and Washington's Brooks Laich. If Ottawa's Jason Spezza manages to return from back surgery that has sidelined him since late January, that would make a big difference.


Consider doubling-up on line combinations, when the value is right. If you buy in on Alex Ovechkin in Washington, plucking Marcus Johansson or Mike Green later in the draft would help provide double-up opportunities on Capitals goals. Or it never hurts to nab whomever is playing right wing with the Sedins. Alex Burrows seems most likely, but Zack Kassian could find his way there too.

Sedins and Burrows, photo: Derek Leung/Getty Images


Don't be afraid to make a sleeper pick late in the draft. The small sample size of playoffs lends itself to unexpected results, like Bryce Salvador scoring 14 points in 24 games in 2012 (he had nine points in 82 regular season games), Joel Ward scoring 13 points in 12 games in 2011, Ville Leino tallying 21 points in 19 games in 2010 or many others, from Ruslan Fedotenko to R.J. Umberger to Fernando Pisani, generally unheralded players who have all had double-digit goal totals in a single playoff year.


Given these basic plans, the following team lists will provide information to help organize your drafting priorities. Each player listed has their points per game listed and that's a general value to start with.

Then, look at what the player has done in March and April this season. Usually, I break down splits after the All-Star break but, in a shortened season, a look at the last couple months is a reasonable enough split.

If the point totals are higher, maybe it's a young player, like Chicago's Brandon Saad, who is taking on more responsibility, or a veteran whose playing situation changed due to trade. In either case, it's usually preferable to get a player who is more productive now, as opposed to one that padded his scoring numbers early in the year (like Ottawa's Cory Conacher, for example).

The third rate included for each player is their NHL career playoff scoring average. In the vast majority of situations, that number will be lower than players' career averages because the playoffs are tighter checking games that involve the best teams. Even some great players have lower career scoring averages in the playoffs because they didn't contribute much early in their career and they've since emerged as elite postseason perfomers.

Pavel Datsyuk, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Marian Hossa, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are among the high-profile players that didn't produce early in the playoffs, but have had productive postseasons since then.

By no means should previous playoff production eliminate a player from consideration -- because sometimes a player is labeled as unproven in the postseason, until suddenly he is -- but if a player has made a career of under-performing in the playoffs, the safe play could be to let someone else take that risk or wait an extra round or two before wading into those waters.

Power plays rule the postseason so make sure your roster is loaded with players who get time with the man advantage. The Kings' Dustin Penner was the only player to finish in the Top 25 in playoff scoring last season not to register a power play point and New Jersey's Bryce Salvador and Adam Henrique were the only ones to finish in the Top 25 with fewer than three power play points.

Power play defencemen, in particular, have more value in the playoffs so don't let these players slip by you in the middle-to-later rounds of the draft. Drew Doughty, Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto all hit double figures in scoring in last year's playoffs, all with at least four points on the power play. Power play point totals are included as a general guide for which players are most likely to get those man advantage opportunities.

Teams are listed in my personal order of priority.

Finally, as the postseason approaches and match-ups are set, check out the Fantasy Hockey Update playoff editions, and my blog which will have my playoff picks for more information as you prepare to win your playoff pool.

Here is TSN.ca's 2013 NHL Playoff Payoff:
(Stats through games of 4/23/13)


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Patrick Kane 1.17 1.15 1.02 17 Career-best points per game in bounceback season.
Jonathan Toews 1.02 1.15 0.96 6 Scoring rate keeps improving for Hart Trophy contender.
Marian Hossa 0.77 0.68 0.75 6 62 points in last five playoff appearances.
Patrick Sharp 0.70 0.57 0.63 7 Couldn't find groove in injury-marred season.
Brandon Saad 0.58 0.85 0.50 3 Rookie power forward coming on strong.
Duncan Keith 0.57 0.50 0.58 10 Workhorse defenceman with decent offensive skills.
Brent Seabrook 0.44 0.46 0.54 7 Has had some productive playoff performances.
Dave Bolland 0.40 0.37 0.76 3 If healthy, can score as well as play shutdown role.
Bryan Bickell 0.50 0.54 0.47 0 Makes the most of role in limited ice time.
Viktor Stalberg 0.50 0.58 0.23 2 Has yet to show he can produce in postseason.
Nick Leddy 0.39 0.38 0.23 8 Reduced role, but has good puck skills.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Michal Handzus


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Sidney Crosby 1.56 1.67 1.32 17 Monitor progress in comeback from broken jaw.
Evgeni Malkin 1.03 0.82 1.19 16 Injury-plagued season for elite pivot.
Chris Kunitz 1.09 1.04 0.57 16 Blue-collar winger who can score.
Kris Letang 1.06 1.33 0.48 12 Defenceman with more than a point per game.
Jarome Iginla 0.74 0.70 0.91 12 Veteran sniper coming on strong late in the year.
James Neal 0.82 0.67 0.67 14 Concussion has kept him out for much of April.
Pascal Dupuis 0.80 1.00 0.40 3 League leader in plus-minus at plus-30.
Paul Martin 0.64 0.50 0.37 8 Best point per game production of his career.
Jussi Jokinen 0.46 0.68 0.56 6 Much better scoring numbers after trade from Carolina.
Brenden Morrow 0.52 0.57 0.54 4 Doesn't generate many shots, but productive for Pens.
Beau Bennett 0.56 0.67   5 Rookie has impressed in minimal ice time.
Projected Lines
Deep Sleeper: Brandon Sutter


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Jaromir Jagr 0.80 0.88 1.05 11 41-year-old still a force in offensive zone.
Brad Marchand 0.83 0.85 0.66 4 Agitator with a nose for the net.
Patrice Bergeron 0.82 0.82 0.69 4 Superb two-way player.
David Krejci 0.73 0.67 0.80 7 Led 2011 playoffs with 12 goals, 23 points.
Tyler Seguin 0.69 0.68 0.50 6 Disappointing season for talented 21-year-old.
Nathan Horton 0.51 0.42 0.81 1 Reduced role late in the regular season.
Milan Lucic 0.56 0.48 0.56 2 Power forward has two goals in last 30 games.
Zdeno Chara 0.42 0.39 0.36 4 Scoring at lowest rate since 2001-2002.
Rich Peverley 0.36 0.41 0.50 6 A mess of a season, but skilled enough to play PP.
Carl Soderberg 0.67 0.67   0 27-year-old has finally arrived from Sweden.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Dougie Hamilton


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Henrik Sedin 0.96 0.96 0.75 12 51 points in last 52 playoff games.
Daniel Sedin 0.87 0.74 0.70 12 46 points in last 49 playoff games.
Ryan Kesler 0.80 0.88 0.68 4 Injury-shortened season, but could be fresh for playoffs.
Derek Roy 0.68 0.67 0.61 7 Gives Canucks many more options for line combinations.
Alexander Edler 0.50 0.40 0.49 10 Good on PP, lowest points per game since 2008-09.
Jannik Hansen 0.58 0.70 0.26 2 Speedy winger steadily improving offensively.
Dan Hamhuis 0.52 0.52 0.35 6 Top scorer on Canucks blueline.
Alex Burrows 0.52 0.48 0.46 3 More productive if he stays with Sedins.
Jason Garrison 0.33 0.41 0.75 5 Scoring down, but has a heavy shot from the point.
Mason Raymond 0.48 0.48 0.31 5 Two goals in last 33 playoff games.
Chris Higgins 0.38 0.35 0.37 0 Could be in good spot with Roy, Kesler as linemates.
Projected Lines:
D. Sedin-H. Sedin-Burrows
Deep Sleeper: Zack Kassian


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Anze Kopitar 0.89 0.83 0.96 16 Led last year's playoffs with 20 points in 20 games.
Mike Richards 0.68 0.66 0.78 15 Gritty performer who raises his game in the playoffs.
Dustin Brown 0.63 0.68 0.84 13 Tied Kopitar with eight goals, 20 points in 2012 playoffs.
Jeff Carter 0.70 0.69 0.51 10 More goals than assists in 7 of 8 NHL seasons.
Justin Williams 0.66 0.79 0.62 6 Two-time Cup winner skates on the Kings' top line.
Drew Doughty 0.47 0.48 0.84 10 Can dominate the game when he turns it on.
Slava Voynov 0.51 0.52 0.15 8 Steady improvement from young blueliner.
Jarret Stoll 0.38 0.45 0.35 5 Checker who still gets some time on PP.
Dustin Penner 0.41 0.48 0.50 1 Enigmatic big man with soft hands, inconsistent production.
Jake Muzzin 0.36 0.45   7 Rookie was surprise offensive contributor.
Projected Lines
Deep Sleeper: Tyler Toffoli


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Alex Ovechkin 1.15 1.41 1.16 25 30 goals, 59 points in 51 career playoff games.
Nicklas Backstrom 1.04 1.22 0.80 18 92 points in 88 games over last two regular seasons.
Mike Ribeiro 1.02 0.93 0.60 25 Second time in his career he's scored point per game.
Mike Green 0.67 0.88 0.58 11 Recapturing some of his offensive flair.
Troy Brouwer 0.71 0.77 0.25 15 Strong winger who does a nice job in front of the net.
Marcus Johansson 0.66 0.87 0.39 4 Struggled early, doing well now with Backstrom and Ovechkin.
Martin Erat 0.56 0.57 0.50 8 Skilled winger has two goals in last 21 playoff games.
Joel Ward 0.51 0.35 0.69 3 If healthy, he's been strong postseason performer.
John Carlson 0.48 0.52 0.40 5 Impressive young defenceman, not a big PP role.
Brooks Laich 0.44 0.44 0.59 1 Injuries have limited him to nine games this season.
Mathieu Perreault 0.46 0.42 0.00 3 Not a lot of ice for small, skilled centre.
Projected Lines
Deep Sleeper: Brooks Laich


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Ryan Getzlaf 1.09 1.04 0.85 14 Over a point per game in five of last six seasons.
Corey Perry 0.86 0.79 0.80 10 30 points in last 25 playoff games.
Saku Koivu 0.59 0.36 0.92 8 Has never played more than 12 games in one playoff season.
Bobby Ryan 0.64 0.56 0.58 6 Ice time, goal-scoring down this season.
Teemu Selanne 0.51 0.26 0.71 7 42-year-old's production has tailed off.
Francois Beauchemin 0.50 0.36 0.33 7 Highest points per game since 2005-2006.
Andrew Cogliano 0.48 0.46   0 Best scoring season since his rookie year.
Sheldon Souray 0.40 0.38 0.29 5 Hasn't played in playoffs since 2006.
Kyle Palmieri 0.49 0.48 0.00 2 Can score, but plays limited role.
Nick Bonino 0.48 0.43 0.00 3 Returned from injury, playing second-line minutes.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Daniel Winnik


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Rick Nash 0.95 0.96 0.75 9 Time to show what he can do in postseason.
Derek Stepan 0.87 1.11 0.36 10 Quietly spectacular season.
Brad Richards 0.70 0.72 0.93 8 Finishing better after slow start to season.
Derick Brassard 0.62 0.72   11 Thriving offensively with new team.
Ryan Callahan 0.63 0.74 0.40 8 Tons of ice time for hard-working captain.
Ryane Clowe 0.49 0.59 0.66 4 Fresh start in New York working well for power forward.
Michael Del Zotto 0.43 0.44 0.50 7 Best puck mover on Rangers' blueline.
Mats Zuccarello 0.54 0.54 0.00 1 Decent contribution since returning late in the season.
Carl Hagelin 0.48 0.41 0.18 1 Scoring down in second half of the season.
Ryan McDonagh 0.40 0.41 0.16 1 More shutdown D than scorer.
Dan Girardi 0.32 0.22 0.29 2 Had 12 points in 20 playoff games last season.
Projected Lines
Deep Sleeper: John Moore


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
P.K. Subban 0.90 1.04 0.57 25 Breakthrough offensive season for dynamic defenceman.
Max Pacioretty 0.90 0.85   12 Ice time down, point per game production up.
Michael Ryder 0.80 0.88 0.61 17 21 points in 25 games since return to Habs.
Tomas Plekanec 0.71 0.76 0.62 15 Steady, reliable two-way player.
Andrei Markov 0.59 0.58 0.37 22 22 of 27 points on the power play.
Raphael Diaz 0.67 0.50   8 Made late-season return from concussion.
Brian Gionta 0.57 0.65 0.65 7 20 points in 26 playoff games with Montreal.
Brendan Gallagher 0.60 0.62   4 Rookie put up points, earning spot on scoring line.
Lars Eller 0.57 0.62 0.29 5 23-year-old enjoying breakthough campaign.
David Desharnais 0.59 0.58 0.20 6 Skilled small centre has one goal in last 20 games.
Alex Galchenyuk 0.54 0.50   1 Talented rookie finishing strong,; could use more ice time.
Rene Bourque 0.48 0.25 0.20 3 Back in the lineup after missing time with concussion.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Brandon Prust


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Phil Kessel 1.07 1.38 1.00 20 15 points in 15 career playoff games.
Joffrey Lupul 1.21 1.55 0.59 3 Unbelievably productive when healthy this season.
Nazem Kadri 0.91 0.80   8 Breakout season despite slumping late in the year.
Dion Phaneuf 0.59 0.71 0.48 15 Getting closer to production from best days in Calgary.
Tyler Bozak 0.61 0.67   9 Playing with Kessel has had its benefits.
Cody Franson 0.65 0.63 0.44 12 Given a chance, showed offensive skills.
James van Riemsdyk 0.70 0.67 0.38 6 Best point per game production of his career.
Clarke MacArthur 0.50 0.47   4 Just snapped 15-game goal drought.
Nikolai Kulemin 0.50 0.46   0 Two-way play earns him consistent ice time.
Projected Lines:
van Riemsdyk-Bozak-Kessel
Deep Sleeper: Mikhail Grabovski


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Joe Thornton 0.85 0.71 0.76 21 Has two goals in last 25 games.
Logan Couture 0.77 0.79 0.58 12 18 points in last 23 playoff games.
Patrick Marleau 0.66 0.46 0.68 14 One goal in last 15 games.
Joe Pavelski 0.64 0.54 0.60 11 Better finish (13 points in last 17 games) to tough season.
Brent Burns 0.62 0.78 0.31 3 Impressive move to wing; 18 points in last 23 games.
Dan Boyle 0.44 0.39 0.65 13 Fewest points per game since 2001-2002.
Martin Havlat 0.45 0.57 0.72 4 31 points in last 31 playoff games.
Scott Gomez 0.38 0.50 0.71 8 Has strong playoff track record.
Raffi Torres 0.47 0.46 0.43 1 More ice time, more production since joining Sharks.
Matt Irwin 0.32 0.37   5 Rookie with a big shot from the blueline.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: T.J. Galiardi


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Erik Karlsson 0.71   0.54 3 Miraculous return from Achilles injury for superstar defenceman.
Sergei Gonchar 0.60 0.67 0.67 11 44 points in last four playoffs.
Daniel Alfredsson 0.55 0.54 0.81 10 Older now, but 42 points in last 42 playoff games.
Kyle Turris 0.58 0.58 0.56 9 Leads Sens forwards in ice time, 19:38 per game.
Milan Michalek 0.65 0.71 0.38 2 Four goals in 20 games; another injury-marred season.
Cory Conacher 0.64 0.42   4 Rookie has 16 points in last 37 games; had 12 in first seven games.
Mika Zibanejad 0.51 0.58   4 Rookie contributing, but has one goal in last 19 games.
Jakob Silfverberg 0.40 0.50 0.00 3 Rookie generates quite a few scoring chances.
Patrick Wiercioch 0.46 0.54   10 Offensive role figures to be reduced with Karlsson's return.
Colin Greening 0.41 0.38 0.14 4 Hard-working forward with good size.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Jason Spezza


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Chris Stewart 0.74 0.78 0.39 11 Blues' leading scorer runs hot and cold.
T.J. Oshie 0.67 0.64 0.23 10 Expected to return from injury for playoffs.
Andy McDonald 0.54 0.47 0.74 7 14 points in 13 playoff games with the Blues.
Alexander Steen 0.68 0.50 0.31 8 Strong two-way player; minimal playoff production.
David Backes 0.57 0.52 0.54 5 Scoring goals at lowest rate of his career.
Alex Pietrangelo 0.53 0.46 0.63 6 Skilled defenceman plays 25 minutes per game.
David Perron 0.54 0.44 0.54 6 Six points in last 23 games.
Patrik Berglund 0.52 0.48 0.54 6 Five points in last 16 games.
Jay Bouwmeester 0.47 0.39   7 Doesn't need to log as many minutes for Blues.
Vladimir Tarasenko 0.50 0.32   5 Three goals in last 29 games.
Kevin Shattenkirk 0.50 0.30 0.22 9 Surprisingly just four points in last 22 games.
Vladimir Sobotka 0.41 0.48 0.21 4 Versatile checker can score a bit when given the chance.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Vladimir Sobotka


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Henrik Zetterberg 0.98 0.78 0.94 22 97 points in last 93 playoff games.
Pavel Datsyuk 0.96 0.84 0.75 15 Puck wizard has 79 points in last 84 playoff games.
Johan Franzen 0.74 0.80 0.83 12 Mule finishing strong, 13 points in last 12 games.
Niklas Kronwall 0.61 0.44 0.51 15 Solid production in first year as Wings' No. 1 defenceman.
Damien Brunner 0.60 0.43   10 Two goals in last 24 games.
Valtteri Filppula 0.41 0.30 0.56 3 46 points in last five playoff appearances.
Danny Cleary 0.30 0.28 0.40 5 Lowest per-game scoring since 2005-2006.
Jakub Kindl 0.33 0.32   3 Emerging as trustworthy part of defence corps.
Todd Bertuzzi 0.43   0.53 0 Injuries have limited him to just seven games.
Gustav Nyquist 0.30 0.33 0.00 2 Gradually working his way into regular duty.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Justin Abdelkader


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Zach Parise 0.80 0.85 0.70 13 Career-best 15 points in last year's playoffs.
Mikko Koivu 0.76 0.78 0.55 13 Only 11 career playoff games.
Jason Pominville 0.72 0.73 0.62 9 Nine points in 10 games with Wild.
Ryan Suter 0.70 0.74 0.33 15 Career-best offensive season.
Matt Cullen 0.65 0.71 0.57 3 Second-best points per game in 15 NHL seasons.
Devin Setoguchi 0.57 0.63 0.50 5 Has 12 goals in last 33 playoff games.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard 0.46 0.58 0.44 2 Playing better after slow start.
Jared Spurgeon 0.38 0.44   7 One point in last 13 games.
Charlie Coyle 0.34 0.41   1 Rookie regularly skates on top line.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Jason Zucker


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
John Tavares 1.00 0.84 16 22 points in last 28 games.
Matt Moulson 0.98 0.88   15 Points per game up every year with Islanders.
Brad Boyes 0.76 0.80 0.36 13 Plum spot on wing with Tavares and Moulson
Frans Nielsen 0.63 0.76   10 Two-way centre has playmaking skills.
Mark Streit 0.59 0.64 0.33 11 Last reached playoffs in 2008.
Kyle Okposo 0.52 0.64   3 Decent finish, but paltry goal production.
Josh Bailey 0.53 0.60   2 Best season of 23-year-old's career.
Michael Grabner 0.49 0.50 0.11 3 Goal-scorer has two assists in last 27 games.
Lubomir Visnovsky 0.41 0.35 0.22 8 Scoring rate down at this stage of his career.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Jesse Joensuu


Player PPG Mar/Apr Playoffs PPP Notes
Marian Gaborik 0.58 0.54 0.65 8 18 points in last 36 playoff games.
Vinny Prospal 0.63 0.73 0.54 6 38-year-old is Blue Jackets' leading scorer.
Brandon Dubinsky 0.59 0.67 0.55 5 Good two-way player; only one goal all season.
Jack Johnson 0.40 0.38 1.00 7 Point per game in a dozen career playoff games.
Mark Letestu 0.59 0.62 0.18 4 Breakout season for 28-year-old centre.
R.J. Umberger 0.39 0.46 0.73 5 Has 13 goals in last 20 playoff games.
Fedor Tyutin 0.48 0.42 0.32 5 Reliable defender for 24 minutes a night.
James Wisniewski 0.50 0.38 0.28 5 Injuries limit his overall impact.
Artem Anisimov 0.53 0.63 0.42 1 Trying to make it back from concussion.
Projected Lines:
Deep Sleeper: Cam Atkinson

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.

© 2017
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television