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Cullen: 2010 NHL Playoff Picks

Scott Cullen
4/13/2010 9:37:03 AM
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It's time for my annual playoff picks. Sometimes, it works out well, like when I suggested Anaheim, Carolina and the Rangers (who took the Caps to Game Seven) were the three low seeds best-equipped for an upset in Round One last year.

Sometimes it goes less than ideally, like when I said Boston and San Jose would meet for the Stanley Cup last year; that didn't turn out nearly as good as touting rising star Johan Franzen for the Red Wings in 2008.

I offer the good and bad of recent seasons, with the understanding that this year's playoff picks will most likely include some of each.

For even more detailed breakdowns heading into the postseason, there's a whole list of goodies to check out:
NHL Power Rankings - You'll have some idea how good I think a team is based on their finish here.
NHL Player Rankings - Not geared to the NHL playoffs, but a position-by-position breakdown of the league's best.
The Playoff Payoff - A more detailed stats breakdown, with strategy, likely line combinations and deep sleepers for each team.
Fantasy Hockey Report - Western Conference Playoff Preview - Includes players to target and avoid.
Fantasy Hockey Report - Eastern Conference Playoff Preview - A lot like the Western Conference version, but for teams in the East.
You can also follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen

Without further ado, here are my picks for the 2009-2010 NHL Playoffs:

Round One Winners: Washington, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Jose, Chicago, Vancouver, Detroit.

Since no one considers the fifth-seeded Red Wings underdogs to fourth-seeded Phoenix, the only 'dog I'm going with in the first round is Boston, with the Sabres battling injuries up front and Bruins rookie Tuukka Rask helping to negate the advantage that Vezina favourite Ryan Miller often gives the Sabres in goal.

Aside from Boston, best-equipped to pull off an upset (among 6, 7, 8 seeds): Los Angeles, Nashville.

Final Four: Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Vancouver

Final: Detroit over Washington

The Capitals have been the league's best team for a good portion of the season and I'm inclined to pick them but, strangely enough, I'm less confident in their goaltending than I am in Detroit's with rookie Jimmy Howard.   Of course, going into the playoffs last year, I didn't feel great about Marc-Andre Fleury or Chris Osgood and we saw how that turned out.

Given those picks, this is my quick cheatsheet for a playoff pool, with 150 skaters and 17 goaltenders ranked. You'll note that players aren't necessarily ranked in an order that exactly corresponds with their point projection, as potential sometimes moves players up further.

For example, I have the Blackhawks losing in the second round this year, but I still find Patrick Kane more valuable than a secondary scorer like Ryan Kesler or Tomas Fleischmann -- players on teams that I expect to advance further in the postseason.

I'll be chatting Tuesday afternoon on TSN.ca so jump on and I'll get to as many questions as I can as we get ready for this year's Cup run.

With the disclaimers out of the way, here are my NHL playoff pool picks for 2010:

RANK PLAYER TEAM POS PROJECTION
1. Alexander Ovechkin WAS LW 32
2. Nicklas Backstrom WAS C 26
3. Sidney Crosby PIT C 24
4. Alexander Semin WAS RW 25
5. Henrik Zetterberg DET C 24
6. Mike Green WAS D 22
7. Evgeni Malkin PIT C 21
8. Pavel Datsyuk DET C 21
9. Henrik Sedin VAN C 20
10. Johan Franzen DET LW 20
11. Daniel Sedin VAN LW 19
12. Nicklas Lidstrom DET D 17
13. Brooks Laich WAS LW 18
14. Tomas Holmstrom DET RW 17
15. Mike Knuble WAS RW 16
16. Brian Rafalski DET D 15
17. Valtteri Filppula DET C 15
18. Sergei Gonchar PIT D 14
19. Patrick Kane CHI RW 12
20. Zach Parise NJ LW 12
21. Ryan Kesler VAN C 14
22. Tomas Fleischmann WAS LW 14
23. Dany Heatley SJ RW 12
24. Marian Hossa CHI LW 11
25. Joe Thornton SJ C 11
26. Patrick Marleau SJ LW 11
27. Ilya Kovalchuk NJ LW 10
28. Jonathan Toews CHI C 10
29. Alex Burrows VAN RW 12
30. Mikael Samuelsson VAN RW 12
31. Patrik Elias NJ LW 10
32. Brendan Morrison WAS C 10
33. Alexander Edler VAN D 10
34. Pavol Demitra VAN LW 10
35. Todd Bertuzzi DET RW 10
36. Niklas Kronwall DET D 10
37. Daniel Cleary DET LW 10
38. Jordan Staal PIT C 10
39. Jason Chimera WAS LW 9
40. Christian Ehrhoff VAN D 9
41. Mason Raymond VAN LW 9
42. Bill Guerin PIT RW 9
43. Alex Goligoski PIT D 9
44. David Krejci BOS C 9
45. Alexei Ponikarovsky PIT RW 9
46. Chris Kunitz PIT LW 9
47. Dan Boyle SJ D 8
48. Travis Zajac NJ C 8
49. Eric Belanger WAS C 9
50. Eric Fehr WAS RW 9
51. Jamie Langenbrunner NJ RW 8
52. Patrick Sharp CHI RW 8
53. Duncan Keith CHI D 8
54. Anze Kopitar LA C 6
55. Ryane Clowe SJ RW 8
56. Joe Pavelski SJ C 8
57. Patrice Bergeron BOS C 8
58. Sami Salo VAN D 7
59. Kris Letang PIT D 7
60. Kris Versteeg CHI RW 7
61. Ruslan Fedotenko PIT LW 7
62. Daniel Alfredsson OTT RW 6
63. Jason Spezza OTT C 6
64. Drew Doughty LA D 5
65. Paul Stastny COL C 5
66. Derek Roy BUF C 5
67. Zdeno Chara BOS D 5
68. Chris Stewart COL RW 5
69. Mark Recchi BOS RW 7
70. Pascal Dupuis PIT LW 7
71. Michael Ryder BOS RW 6
72. Rob Blake SJ D 6
73. Brent Seabrook CHI D 6
74. Dustin Byfuglien CHI D 5
75. Mike Richards PHI C 4
76. Chris Pronger PHI D 4
77. Jason Pominville BUF RW 4
78. Tyler Myers BUF D 4
79. Thomas Vanek BUF LW 4
80. Michael Grabner VAN RW 6
81. Tyler Ennis BUF C 5
82. Paul Martin NJ D 5
83. Jeff Carter PHI C 4
84. Milan Lucic BOS LW 5
85. Logan Couture SJ C 5
86. Dainius Zubrus NJ C 6
87. David Bolland CHI C 6
88. Troy Brouwer CHI RW 5
89. Milan Hejduk COL RW 5
90. Dennis Wideman BOS D 5
91. Brian Rolston NJ LW 5
92. Marco Sturm BOS LW 5
93. Devin Setoguchi SJ RW 5
94. Manny Malhotra SJ C 5
95. Kevin Bieksa VAN D 5
96. Ryan Smyth LA LW 4
97. Wojtek Wolski PHO LW 4
98. Matt Duchene COL C 4
99. Andrew Ladd CHI LW 5
100. Miroslav Satan BOS LW 5
101. Tomas Plekanec MON C 4
102. Simon Gagne PHI LW 4
103. Scott Gomez MON C 4
104. Jason Arnott NAS C 4
105. Daniel Briere PHI RW 4
106. Dustin Brown LA LW 4
107. Shane Doan PHO RW 4
108. Lee Stempniak PHO RW 4
109. Brian Gionta MON RW 4
110. Claude Giroux PHI RW 4
111. Tim Connolly BUF C 4
112. Mike Cammalleri MON LW 4
113. David Clarkson NJ RW 4
114. Alexander Frolov LA LW 4
115. J.P. Dumont NAS LW 4
116. Brian Campbell CHI D 4
117. Blake Wheeler BOS RW 4
118. Shea Weber NAS D 3
119. Keith Yandle PHO D 3
120. Andrei Markov MON D 3
121. Erik Karlsson OTT D 3
122. Marc-Andre Bergeron MON D 3
123. Jarret Stoll LA C 3
124. Matthew Lombardi PHO C 3
125. Kimmo Timonen PHI D 3
126. Martin Erat NAS RW 3
127. Scott Hartnell PHI LW 3
128. Ed Jovanovski PHO D 3
129. Jack Johnson LA D 3
130. Patric Hornqvist NAS RW 3
131. Steve Sullivan NAS RW 3
132. Mike Fisher OTT C 3
133. Milan Michalek OTT LW 3
134. Andy Greene NJ D 3
135. John-Michael Liles COL D 3
136. Matt Cullen OTT C 3
137. Colin Wilson NAS C 3
138. Raffi Torres BUF LW 3
139. Michal Handzus LA C 3
140. Peter Mueller COL RW 3
141. Andrei Kostitsyn MON RW 3
142. Peter Regin OTT LW 2
143. Martin Hanzal PHO C 2
144. Justin Williams LA RW 3
145. Joel Ward NAS RW 3
146. Jochen Hecht BUF LW 3
147. T.J. Galiardi COL LW 3
148. Wayne Simmonds LA RW 3
149. Ryan Suter NAS RW 2
150. Radim Vrbata PHO RW 2
RANK GOALTENDER TEAM
1. Jimmy Howard DET
2. Jose Theodore WAS
3. Roberto Luongo VAN
4. Martin Brodeur NJ
5. Evgeni Nabokov SJ
6. Marc-Andre Fleury PIT
7. Antti Niemi CHI
8. Ryan Miller BUF
9. Tuukka Rask BOS
10. Ilya Bryzgalov PHO
11. Jonathan Quick LA
12. Pekka Rinne NAS
13. Brian Elliott OTT
14. Craig Anderson COL
15. Jaroslav Halak MON
16. Brian Boucher PHI
17. Semyon Varlamov WAS

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



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