NHL Playoffs 2012: Top Ten Blue Collar Forwards through the Conference Finals

Posted on May 26 2012 - 5:46pm by Mike Burse

Who are the players who make hits, block shots, take the puck from the other team and minimize turnovers that help to carry their teams through the grind that is the Stanley Cup playoffs?

These players create opportunities for the superstars through their fearless play along the boards, in the corners and in front of the net. Without enough blue-collar players in a franchise’s lineup, it surely will not have the chance to lift the Stanley Cup.

This list is based on statistics from the 2012 NHL playoffs. We place value on hits, blocked shots and takeaways on this list.

Let’s take a look at the top ten NHL blue-collar forwards from the Conference Semi-Finals.

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#10 Daymond Langkow

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

16 34 17 3 6
After   sitting out most of the 2010-11 NHL season with a neck injury Langkow moved   from Calgary to Phoenix. He has shown that while he does not put up as many   points as he did in the past, this grey bearded veteran is a valuable player   to his team.

 

#9 Trevor Lewis

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

14 50 3 2 2
The former   first round pick and 2006 USHL player of the year has had a hard time showing   his offensive flair at the pro level. He is now 25 and appears to be molding   his game into a valuable blue collar bottom six type player.

 

#8 Dainius Zubrus

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

18 56 11 3 5
The 33 year   old Zubrus is very durable and has played in 79 or more regular season games   in 4 of the past 5 years. He also contributed 3 goals thus far in the Devils   run to the Cup Final.

 

#7 Taylor Pyatt

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

16 48 20 2 2
The former   8th overall draft choice in 1999 by the New York Islanders   offensive game has not developed as they had thought it would. But the   Coyotes have reaped the benefits of his transformation into a solid bottom   six forward.

 

#6 Antoine Vermette

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

16 57 18 6 1
Acquired at   the trade deadline from Columbus, Vermette proved to be a good acquisition   for the Coyotes and one that I am sure they would like to keep around long   term.

 

#5 Brian Boyle

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

17 60 17 3 2
The former   member of the NCAA East First All-American Team (2007) was a physical force   for the Rangers in these playoffs. His prowess in the faceoff circle was   another valuable addition to his game.

 

#4 Dustin Brown

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

14 67 10 7 9
Brown had   another good series against the Coyotes and has found himself the center of   some controversy. At the end of the day winning appears to be all he is   focused on now and he will be a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate for the Kings.

 

#3 Martin Hanzal

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

12 57 8 5 8
Hanzal has   shown Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney that he is a key contributor for   this team. This is largely why he was signed to a $3.1 million extension   through the 2016-17 NHL season.

 

#2 Shane Doan

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

16 79 11 7 13
Doan proved   this year that he is built for the playoffs. Hopefully this will not be the   last we see of the Coyotes and deep runs into the post season. They will need   to resign Doan this offseason and that should not be a problem if they stay   in Arizona.

 

#1 Ryan Callahan

GP

HITS

BKS

GVA

TKA

14 63 23 7 12
Callahan   again claims tops stop on this list. His play throughout the playoffs proved   why he is the Rangers captain. He is a cornerstone of this franchise and look   for them to reload and come back stronger next season with Callahan steering   the heart and soul of this team.

 

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A Bleacher Report writer since September 2006, Mike Burse's work has been featured on NHL.com, Sportsnet.ca and TheSlapShot.com. He was also part of Bleacher Report's 2010 NHL Entry Draft coverage team. Follow Mike on Twitter @mikeburse