Thursday, May 9, 2019

Building a roster for the 2019 Playoff Disappointment Team

The first two rounds of the playoffs are over, and we’ve made it through one of the most unpredictable and outright shocking months of postseason action we’ve ever seen. Twelve teams are out and four more are on to the conference final, just eight wins away from the sport’s ultimate prize. So you know what time it is now.

No, not time to celebrate the accomplishments of the winners. Ew. Is this your first day here?

No, we’re hockey fans, so we’re going to do what we do best: Point and yell “SHAME” at those who have displeased us. So today, let’s assemble a full roster’s worth of playoff disappointment. These are the players who didn’t live up to expectations once the postseason started, and may now be part of the reason their team isn’t playing anymore.

And why did they let us down? (Ignores that one guy with a pocket protector shouting “Small sample size!”) That’s right – they didn’t want it bad enough. Try harder next time, guys, and everything will work out fine. Consider it a lesson learned.

Like all great teams, we’ll build from the net out. Please welcome your 2019 All Playoff Disappointment Team.


Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning: Spoiler alert – Vasilevskiy won’t be the only Lightning player to show up on this list. And in a sense, that should shield him from some criticism, since a goalie is only as good as the team in front of him. But the series between the Lightning and Blue Jackets was closer than you probably remember it, and an extra save here or there could have at least extended it, if not changed the outcome. The Lightning never seemed to get that save. Put it this way: So far, 17 goalies have started at least one playoff game, and 16 of them have posted a save percentage over .900. The 17th is Vasilevskiy, with a downright ugly .856.

Matt Murray, Penguins: The story of the Islanders’ surprising sweep over the Penguins was how Pittsburgh just couldn’t ever seem to hold any momentum. They’d score a big goal, you’d think “OK, here we go,” and then the Islanders would come right back down and score almost immediately. Those goals weren’t always Murray’s fault, but some sure were, and the Penguins were always going to need something more than .906 goaltending to get past Robin Lehner and the Islanders.

Missed the cut: Martin Jones looked like he had a spot on this team all wrapped up after the first week, but he’s been fantastic ever since. Pekka Rinne has a stronger case, and he certainly didn’t get that redemption he was looking for after last year’s disastrous finish. But he had three games where he was .950 or better, including 49 saves in the OT loss that ended the Predators’ season. And unlike Murray or Vasilevskiy, at least he won a game. Marc-Andre Fleury did too, and would have won a series if the Knights could kill off a penalty.

First pair

Kris Letang, Penguins: You can’t accuse him of not showing up, as he averaged over 27 minutes a game. But in a series where the Penguins always seemed one goal away from turning things around, their only high-scoring defenseman managed just one assist. Worse, he was front and center on several key goals against, as his aggressive style seemed to backfire just about every time. As Letang himself pointed out, you can’t just tell an offensive defenseman not to make mistakes. But when your style is high risk/high reward, sometimes you wind up high on the list of goats.

Jacob Trouba, Jets: In what could be his last games in a Jets uniform, Trouba had a rough series against the Blues. His offense dried up, to the tune of just one assist in six games. But his most memorable moment came in his own end, where a disastrous decision may have been the series turning point.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

(Want to read this post on The Athletic for free? Sign up for a free seven-day trial.)

No comments:

Post a Comment