Monday, October 20, 2008

Greatest Playoff Years Ever

In my last post, I reminisced about Ken Yaremchuk's great yet fleeting AHL playoff of 1989 and promised to find the best individual playoffs of all time. In order to find somewhat of an even measuring stick I decided to use a player's Points per Game average and the Percentage of his Team's goals scored. I multiplied the two and came up with a rating of how strong that individual's playoff was. I went through each year of NHL playoffs and came up with following list, click on the list to open a large view of it.

It only stands to reason that The Great One has three of the top five playoff performances of all-time. Mario Lemieux barely edges out Gretzky after I adjusted his Percentage of Team Goals. Le Magnifique had his hand broken by an Adam Graves slash in game two of the second round and missed the next five matches. The Pens tallied 22 goals in those games, so in the games Mario played they scored 61 times meaning he was in on well over half the goals when he was in the lineup. Babe Dye of the 1922 Toronto St.Pats is a somewhat suprising number three, having been in on 62% of his squad's goals that post season. Stan Mikita rounds out the top six with a fantastic 21 points in 12 games enroute to losing the Cup to Toronto. The ill-stricken 1919 final between Seattle and Les Canadiens is represented by Frank Foyston's 9 goals in 4 games and Newsy Lalonde's 18 points in 9 games including the NHL portion of his playoffs. A few other suprises are Fleming Mackell with 19 points in a losing effort in 1958 and Marcel Bonin with 15 points for the victorious Habs in 1959.

The next list is of Great Playoffs by players who did NOT make it to the Final of that season.

Seeing as these guys didn't play as many games in their playoffs it created a smaller sample size of their work which leads to some higher percentages. However, these efforts cannot be overlooked. Dennis Maruk tops the list as he ripped off 13 points in a 5 game first round loss, gaining a point on 65% of the North Stars goals. Darryl Sittler is next with a 2.33 point/game effort and points on an amazing 67.7% of the Leafs goals that post season.
Perhaps even more impressive are the efforts by Rick Middleton and Barry Pederson for the '83 Bruins. Tallying 33 and 32 points respectively in 17 games, both in on over half the Bruins goals. Middleton holds the records for most points in a series with 19 in 7 round games against Buffalo, and most points by a player not advancing to the final.

Finally, I decided to find some other various fantastic playoffs from around the hockey world. I checked some of the top junior post seasons as well as WHA and AHL.

This is were it gets real interesting, obviously there are some crazy junior numbers put up by future superstars. My old favourite, Ken Yaremchuk's 1989 first round rates very nicely, but then we find what would have to be considered the greatest post season performance in professional hockey history. Bill McDougall of the 1993 Cape Breton Oilers played out of his mind for about six weeks that spring. He tallied 52 (FIFTY-TWO points!!) in a 16 game run to the Calder Cup championship that year. This number stands as the highest total in pro history.
along the way he had a game of seven points and another of five goals. I am going to delve further into this historic run in a future post, but for now there is no disputing the fact that this was the greatest professional playoff ever.

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