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Worst Playoff Performer to Win the Smythe

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Old
11-18-2012, 12:30 PM
  #1
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Worst Playoff Performer to Win the Smythe

This came up in the Best Playoff Playoff Performer Without a Smythe thread and I thought it merited its own thread.

Some criteria- try to keep it to retired players, but if you can make a compelling case for somebody current with an adequate body of work, go for it.

So who's the worst of the best?

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11-18-2012, 12:41 PM
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Excluding active players and players whose careers largely pre-dated the Smythe (Hall, for example). I'd say Ranford, MacInnis and Nieuwendyk were the worst.

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11-18-2012, 12:42 PM
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Roger Crozier? 6-5 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 8-11 otherwise.

Ron Hextall? 15-11 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 32-32 otherwise. As a general rule, defense gets better in the playoffs in the playoffs, but Hextall's .895 save percentage and 2.97 GAA in the regular season become .897 and 3.04 in the playoffs for his career.

Bill Ranford went 16-6 in 1990, 12-19 otherwise.

Among skaters, you have Joe Nieuwendyk - 11-10-21 in 23 games in 1999. 55-40-95 in 137 games otherwise. Not to mention, his Smythe is controversial.


Last edited by TheDevilMadeMe: 11-19-2012 at 10:34 AM. Reason: clarified "for his career"
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11-18-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stansfield View Post
Excluding active players and players whose careers largely pre-dated the Smythe (Hall, for example). I'd say Ranford, MacInnis and Nieuwendyk were the worst.
MacInnis put up good offensive numbers 39-121-160 in 177 games in the playoffs, but you're right - he was a key part of some of the more notable choking teams in history - the early 90s Flames and the late 90s Blues. +12 in the playoffs is pretty poor for a guy who got a lot of offensive opportunities.

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11-18-2012, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
MacInnis put up good offensive numbers 39-121-160 in 177 games in the playoffs, but you're right - he was a key part of some of the more notable choking teams in history - the early 90s Flames and the late 90s Blues. +12 in the playoffs is pretty poor for a guy who got a lot of offensive opportunities.
My sentiments exactly. Post-89 Cup he was on constantly on teams that dissapointed, I don't even think he was bad, but it's just too much to overlook.

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11-18-2012, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Roger Crozier? 6-5 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 8-11 otherwise.

Ron Hextall? 15-11 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 32-32 otherwise. As a general rule, defense gets better in the playoffs in the playoffs, but Hextall's .895 save percentage and 2.97 GAA in the regular season become .897 and 3.04 in the playoffs.

Bill Ranford went 16-6 in 1990, 12-19 otherwise.

Among skaters, you have Joe Nieuwendyk - 11-10-21 in 23 games in 1999. 55-40-95 in 137 games otherwise. Not to mention, his Smythe is controversial.
Pretty sure anyone who watched Hextall's Smythe run wouldn't think it was unwarranted. He was outstanding against the Oiler's dynasty team and pushed them to game 7 on a Flyers team that was missing their best scorer in Tim Kerr

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11-18-2012, 01:19 PM
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vadim sharifijanov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Roger Crozier? 6-5 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 8-11 otherwise.

Ron Hextall? 15-11 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 32-32 otherwise. As a general rule, defense gets better in the playoffs in the playoffs, but Hextall's .895 save percentage and 2.97 GAA in the regular season become .897 and 3.04 in the playoffs.

Bill Ranford went 16-6 in 1990, 12-19 otherwise.

Among skaters, you have Joe Nieuwendyk - 11-10-21 in 23 games in 1999. 55-40-95 in 137 games otherwise. Not to mention, his Smythe is controversial.
goalies are tough, because a lot of non-legendary goalies can get hot for a stretch and play themselves into conn smythe contention (what will cam ward's legacy be, for example). with ranford, he was excellent in '92 as well, even though the stats don't really bear that out. he was the main reason the oilers shut down gretzky in the first round, and also dominated the emerging canucks in round two. even with muckler behind the bench, that was a pretty weak defensive team (maciver and hawgood both usually in the lineup at the same time, manson was their number one, richardson was super young, lowe was a fossil, and muni was hurt. even though they got swept by the hawks and ranford's stats didn't look good, i don't think you'd blame him for it. it was more a case of nicholls and murphy drying up/being eaten alive by chelios, graham, etc.

beyond those two years, ranford has almost nothing to hang his hat on, but all told, i'd put ranford's playoff career ahead of hextall's, who had more deep runs but other than '87 always seemed to be along for the ride/the reason his team ultimately lost. he was outplayed by, and lost his starting job to to start the finals to, wregget in '89, and is generally thought to not have been good enough in his second go-around in philly.

ranford, on the other hand, was considered a top three goalie in the world from '90 to '92, and was ahead of roy in terms of guys who would be classified as a "money goalie." no idea, though, why fuhr started in '91. anyone remember that?

for skaters, i think it has to be nieuwendyk. you can point to macinnis and vernon as other guys who were uneven over their playoff careers. but if you look at nieuwendyk's playoff resume, he was a passenger on most of his teams other than in '99. in '89, he led the team in regular season goals, then was only the third highest scoring center on the team in the playoffs. his contributions to the PP throughout his career, but especially in calgary, can't be overlooked. but other than his great run, he was only a difference maker when the other team was in the box. macinnis and vernon both had multiple great runs, and in their best seasons were far better than '99 nieuwendyk.

crozier i don't know enough about to say.

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11-18-2012, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
goalies are tough, because a lot of non-legendary goalies can get hot for a stretch and play themselves into conn smythe contention (what will cam ward's legacy be, for example). with ranford, he was excellent in '92 as well, even though the stats don't really bear that out. he was the main reason the oilers shut down gretzky in the first round, and also dominated the emerging canucks in round two. even with muckler behind the bench, that was a pretty weak defensive team (maciver and hawgood both usually in the lineup at the same time, manson was their number one, richardson was super young, lowe was a fossil, and muni was hurt. even though they got swept by the hawks and ranford's stats didn't look good, i don't think you'd blame him for it. it was more a case of nicholls and murphy drying up/being eaten alive by chelios, graham, etc.

beyond those two years, ranford has almost nothing to hang his hat on, but all told, i'd put ranford's playoff career ahead of hextall's, who had more deep runs but other than '87 always seemed to be along for the ride/the reason his team ultimately lost. he was outplayed by, and lost his starting job to to start the finals to, wregget in '89, and is generally thought to not have been good enough in his second go-around in philly.

ranford, on the other hand, was considered a top three goalie in the world from '90 to '92, and was ahead of roy in terms of guys who would be classified as a "money goalie." no idea, though, why fuhr started in '91. anyone remember that?

for skaters, i think it has to be nieuwendyk. you can point to macinnis and vernon as other guys who were uneven over their playoff careers. but if you look at nieuwendyk's playoff resume, he was a passenger on most of his teams other than in '99. in '89, he led the team in regular season goals, then was only the third highest scoring center on the team in the playoffs. his contributions to the PP throughout his career, but especially in calgary, can't be overlooked. but other than his great run, he was only a difference maker when the other team was in the box. macinnis and vernon both had multiple great runs, and in their best seasons were far better than '99 nieuwendyk.

crozier i don't know enough about to say.
Ward was excellent in '09, if I had to pick a post-season all-star team (and I'd love if those existed officially), it would be between him and Osgood in goal for that year. Now, if his team would ever make the playoffs on a regular basis...

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11-18-2012, 02:21 PM
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Cam Ward? Hasn't been spectacular outside of the '06 run, where the Smythe should have realistically gone to Brind'Amour or Pronger anyways.

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11-18-2012, 02:31 PM
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Ward was excellent in '09, if I had to pick a post-season all-star team (and I'd love if those existed officially), it would be between him and Osgood in goal for that year. Now, if his team would ever make the playoffs on a regular basis...
true, he was good in that other playoff run he had. kind of a ryan miller-esque career (ranford too) where he has high highs, but not much else to speak of. seems like a good third goalie option for team canada next olympics for his ability to get hot in pressure situations.

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11-18-2012, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
Roger Crozier? 6-5 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 8-11 otherwise.

Ron Hextall? 15-11 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 32-32 otherwise. As a general rule, defense gets better in the playoffs in the playoffs, but Hextall's .895 save percentage and 2.97 GAA in the regular season become .897 and 3.04 in the playoffs.

Bill Ranford went 16-6 in 1990, 12-19 otherwise.

Among skaters, you have Joe Nieuwendyk - 11-10-21 in 23 games in 1999. 55-40-95 in 137 games otherwise. Not to mention, his Smythe is controversial.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyborg LeClair View Post
Pretty sure anyone who watched Hextall's Smythe run wouldn't think it was unwarranted. He was outstanding against the Oiler's dynasty team and pushed them to game 7 on a Flyers team that was missing their best scorer in Tim Kerr
Roger that. Hextall was incredible that year and playoffs. I don't recall it being controversial when he won.

True that he was never that good again, though. He and Ranford are very similar in that they caught lightning in a bottle for a brief period of time.

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11-18-2012, 04:00 PM
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It seems like folks are answering two different (and both valid) questions here:

(a) In the postseason year that they won the Smythe, which player had the worst performance?

(b) Among Smythe winners, who had the worst overall playoffs career?

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11-18-2012, 04:07 PM
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Cam Ward? Hasn't been spectacular outside of the '06 run, where the Smythe should have realistically gone to Brind'Amour or Pronger anyways.
Thing there is that Cam's been putting up solid numbers behind a team that's average at best with a defense that's mediocre at best. His 08-09 playoffs (2.22/.927) were going better then his 05-06 playoffs (2.14/.920) until he got injured in game 1 vs the Pens. And, aside from the season he was injured, he's been a 30+ win goalie each year on a team that's notoriously poor at the shootout (not that Cam's excellent there himself, but they're not padding his win stats that's for sure).

Very similar statistically to Ryan Miller over the last 4 seasons, behind a worse team. But due to Miller's teams making the post-season on a more regular basis he seems to face nowhere near the criticism that Cam does.

Basically I'd have a hard time saying that Roger Crozier was a better goalie then Cam Ward is right now, yet alone that he's better then what Cam will likely be by the time he retires.

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11-18-2012, 04:27 PM
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It seems like folks are answering two different (and both valid) questions here:

(a) In the postseason year that they won the Smythe, which player had the worst performance?

(b) Among Smythe winners, who had the worst overall playoffs career?
To question B, Reggie Leach really stands out.

Take away his incredible 19 goal playoffs his line reads 78-28-17-45

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11-18-2012, 11:13 PM
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MacInnis shouldn't even be mentioned here. 160 points in 177 career playoff games is good for a forward, but great for a defenseman. He had 1989 and 1986 as to great runs. It is true he was on those Flames teams from 1990-'94 but I've always thought it is considered around here that Vernon is by far the most responsible for dropping the ball in those years. MacInnis' stats are still fine in those dark years. MacInnis would easily be ahead of Niedermayer all-time in the postseason and Leetch.

I agree with Ranford because he won 12 games outside of his Smythe year in 1990.

Ward as well. Yes he had two great playoffs in 2006 and 2009 but that is all - literally. He's pushing 30 so he has to get more postseason action.

Hextall belongs on here because while he shone in 1987 and almost stole the Cup away from the Oilers, he was erratic, mistake prone and allowed untimely soft goals in the postseason.

Giguere is sort of like Ward in this instance. 33-17 overall and two great runs but 28 of those wins are in two years.

Hard to judge Vernon too. He is too hit or miss in this instance. On one hand he was brilliant in 1989 and 1997. Plus two other trips to the final. But he is the biggest reason the Flames didn't win more as well.

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11-18-2012, 11:37 PM
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Giguere is sort of like Ward in this instance. 33-17 overall and two great runs but 28 of those wins are in two years.
I'm not sure why that would make him a bad playoff performer though. If you're going to even mention Giguere in this thread for not doing anything outside of two playoffs in which no one would bat an eye if he had won two Conn Smythes, you're going to have to rake Bernie Parent over the coals first.

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11-19-2012, 08:31 AM
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my vote would go for Toews in 2010. that was a tough playoff year, in my opinion anyway, because not one player really stood out.

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11-19-2012, 08:37 AM
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Ron Hextall? 15-11 when winning the Smythe in a losing effort, 32-32 otherwise. As a general rule, defense gets better in the playoffs in the playoffs, but Hextall's .895 save percentage and 2.97 GAA in the regular season become .897 and 3.04 in the playoffs.
where are you getting your stats from?

Hextall had a .908 save% and a 2.77 GAA in the playoffs. .902 and 3.00 were his regular season stats.

Hardly mind blowing by today's standards but you have to remember what hockey was like in the 80's.

don't get me wrong, i DONT think he should have won it that year. i would have given it to either Glenn Anderson or Messier

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11-19-2012, 10:35 AM
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where are you getting your stats from?

Hextall had a .908 save% and a 2.77 GAA in the playoffs. .902 and 3.00 were his regular season stats.

Hardly mind blowing by today's standards but you have to remember what hockey was like in the 80's.

don't get me wrong, i DONT think he should have won it that year. i would have given it to either Glenn Anderson or Messier
hockey-reference.com. They are Hextall's career stats. I'm well aware that he was awesome in 1987.

vadim has a good point that Ranford was never really worse in the playoffs than in the regular season; he just wasn't very good anymore after his 2-3 year peak. Hextall though was pretty weak in the playoffs through most of the 1990s.

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11-19-2012, 10:50 AM
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hockey-reference.com. They are Hextall's career stats. I'm well aware that he was awesome in 1987.

vadim has a good point that Ranford was never really worse in the playoffs than in the regular season; he just wasn't very good anymore after his 2-3 year peak. Hextall though was pretty weak in the playoffs through most of the 1990s.
oh ok, i didn't know you were combining his career stats. and yes he was pretty weak in the playoffs (as his stats show). he would get my vote in this discussion.

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11-19-2012, 11:31 AM
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oh ok, i didn't know you were combining his career stats. and yes he was pretty weak in the playoffs (as his stats show). he would get my vote in this discussion.
I edited the earlier post to make it clearer that I was talking about his career stats.

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11-19-2012, 04:57 PM
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I'm not sure why that would make him a bad playoff performer though. If you're going to even mention Giguere in this thread for not doing anything outside of two playoffs in which no one would bat an eye if he had won two Conn Smythes, you're going to have to rake Bernie Parent over the coals first.
Perhaps, but when Parent's are two of the best performances ever, and one of Giguere's is nothing special from a Cup winning perspective then I think you see the difference.

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11-19-2012, 07:31 PM
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Perhaps, but when Parent's are two of the best performances ever, and one of Giguere's is nothing special from a Cup winning perspective then I think you see the difference.
yes, parent is on a whole other level.

but i'd also argue that giguere's conn smythe is in a very rarefied stratosphere of goalie smythes. below roy '93, but well above ranford, vernon, ward, thomas, quick, and even '01 roy. add that to the year he actually won the cup and had as good an argument for the smythe as anyone else, and i don't think you can lump giguere in with ward (or ranford, hextall). i mean, '03 was at such a superhumanly high level....

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11-19-2012, 07:51 PM
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yes, parent is on a whole other level.

but i'd also argue that giguere's conn smythe is in a very rarefied stratosphere of goalie smythes. below roy '93, but well above ranford, vernon, ward, thomas, quick, and even '01 roy. add that to the year he actually won the cup and had as good an argument for the smythe as anyone else, and i don't think you can lump giguere in with ward (or ranford, hextall). i mean, '03 was at such a superhumanly high level....
I always found it quite strange that both Bryzgalov and Giguere had the same SV% during the cup run. Feels as if that was more of a defense effort than Giguere standing on his head.

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11-19-2012, 08:41 PM
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I always found it quite strange that both Bryzgalov and Giguere had the same SV% during the cup run. Feels as if that was more of a defense effort than Giguere standing on his head.
Sample size and quality of competition factor into that. Bryz only started 4 games against by far the weakest opponent Anaheim faced in Minnesota. As soon as Carlyle could justify switching back to Giguere he did which indicated who the coach had more faith in.

For the most part, Giguere wasn't tested that much but in the Detroit series he was the Ducks best player and without him standing on his head in game 5, the Ducks don't advance to the SCF. I think he was as deserving of the Smythe as anyone else on the team but ultimately it went to Niedermayer.

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