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Top Playoff Performances From Stanley Cup Winning Players


There are lots of good players who are capable of putting up great individual statistics in the NHL. The truly elite players though, are those that can put up the stats when it really matters…in the playoffs. And the best of the best are those that can put up great stats on teams that actually win the Stanley Cup.

The best playoff performer is awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, which was first handed out after the 1964-65 season to Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens. Starting with this season gives us 48 years of data to work with, which is where the number crunching for this analysis begins.

Of the 48 Conn Smythe winners, 5 players have come from the losing team. And of those players, only Reggie Leach of the Philadelphia Flyers was not a goalie. Leach managed to total 19 goals and 5 assists in only 16 games as they lost to Guy Lafleur and the Montreal Canadiens in 1975-76. Here’s the full list… 

Player

Year

Team

Pos

Roger Crozier

1965-66

DET

G

Glenn Hall

1967-68

STL

G

Reggie Leach

1975-76

PHI

RW

Ron Hextall

1986-87

PHI

G

J.S. Giguere

2002-03

ANA

G


That leaves us with 43 occurrences of players winning the Conn Smythe Trophy while also winning the Stanley Cup. Of those 43, four players have won the award twice (Bernie Parent, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky) and only one player has won it three times (Patrick Roy).

Here’s a breakdown of Conn Smythe winners by position: 

Position

Years

Percentage

Goalie

16

33.3%

Forward

22

45.8%

Defenseman

12

25.0%


Not all of the best statistical playoff runs have come from players who won the Conn Smythe. Let’s take a look at some of top performances from all players who have won the Cup.

(Players in bold indicate Conn Smythe winners)

POINTS

Player

Year

Pos

Age

GP

G

A

PTS

Wayne Gretzky

1984-85

C

24

18

17

30

47

Mario Lemieux

1990-91

C

25

23

16

28

44

Wayne Gretzky

1987-88

C

27

19

12

31

43

Paul Coffey

1984-85

D

23

18

12

25

37

Evgeni Malkin

2008-09

C

22

24

14

22

36

Wayne Gretzky

1983-84

C

23

19

13

22

35

Mike Bossy

1980-81

RW

24

18

17

18

35

Joe Sakic

1995-96

C

26

22

18

16

34

Brian Leetch

1993-94

D

25

23

11

23

34

Mario Lemieux

1991-92

C

26

15

16

18

34

Mark Recchi

1990-91

RW

22

24

10

24

34

Mark Messier

1987-88

LW/C

27

19

11

23

34

Wayne Gretzky

1986-87

C

26

21

5

29

34

Kevin Stevens

1990-91

LW

25

24

17

16

33

Sidney Crosby

2008-09

C

21

24

15

16

31

Craig Simpson

1989-90

LW

22

22

16

15

31

Mark Messier

1989-90

LW/C

29

22

9

22

31

Al MacInnis

1988-89

D

25

22

7

24

31

Jari Kurri

1987-88

RW

27

19

14

17

31

Jari Kurri

1984-85

RW

24

18

19

12

31

Mark Messier

1993-94

LW/C

33

23

12

18

30

Jonathan Toews

2009-10

C

21

22

7

22

29

Bryan Trottier

1981-82

C

25

19

6

23

29

Bryan Trottier

1980-81

C

24

18

11

18

29

Bryan Trottier

1979-80

C

23

21

12

17

29


Not surprisingly, Gretzky and Lemieux lead this ranking that is filled with Oilers and Penguins. Note that there are only three defenseman in the top 25 performances of all time (Coffey, Leetch, and MacInnis). Let’s dig a little deeper and sort these numbers into points per game since not every playoff run is the same length.

POINTS PER GAME

Player

Year

Pos

Age

GP

G

A

PTS

PPG

Wayne Gretzky

1984-85

C

24

18

17

30

47

2.61

Mario Lemieux

1991-92

C

26

15

16

18

34

2.27

Wayne Gretzky

1987-88

C

27

19

12

31

43

2.26

Paul Coffey

1984-85

D

23

18

12

25

37

2.06

Mike Bossy

1980-81

RW

24

18

17

18

35

1.94

Phil Esposito

1969-70

C

27

14

13

14

27

1.93

Mario Lemieux

1990-91

C

25

23

16

28

44

1.91

Guy Lafleur

1976-77

RW

25

14

9

17

26

1.86

Wayne Gretzky

1983-84

C

23

19

13

22

35

1.84

Mark Messier

1987-88

LW/C

27

19

11

23

34

1.79

Jari Kurri

1984-85

RW

24

18

19

12

31

1.72

Jari Kurri

1987-88

RW

27

19

14

17

31

1.63

Wayne Gretzky

1986-87

C

26

21

5

29

34

1.62

Bryan Trottier

1980-81

C

24

18

11

18

29

1.61

Phil Esposito

1971-72

C

29

15

9

15

24

1.60

Bobby Orr

1971-72

D

23

15

5

19

24

1.60

Joe Sakic

1995-96

C

26

22

18

16

34

1.55

Bryan Trottier

1981-82

C

25

19

6

23

29

1.53

Evgeni Malkin

2008-09

C

22

24

14

22

36

1.50

Brian Leetch

1993-94

D

25

23

11

23

34

1.48

Jari Kurri

1983-84

RW

23

19

14

14

28

1.47

Yvan Cournoyer

1972-73

RW

29

17

15

10

25

1.47

Glenn Anderson

1984-85

RW

24

18

10

16

26

1.44

Mike Bossy

1979-80

RW

23

16

10

13

23

1.44

Jacques Lemaire

1978-79

C

33

16

11

12

23

1.44

Guy Lafleur

1978-79

RW

27

16

10

13

23

1.44


Sorting by points per game brings in a lot more players from the 70’s when there were fewer teams and fewer rounds to the playoffs. Our top spots still belong to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, but we also see players like Phil Esposito and Guy Lafleur make some appearances.

Best playoff performances for other statistical categories:

Goals: 19 - Jari Kurri (1984-85)
Assists: 31 – Wayne Gretzky (1987-88)
Shorthanded Goals: 3 – Lorne Henning (1979-80)
Power Play Goals: 9 – Mike Bossy (1980-81)
Game Winning Goals: 7 - Brad Richards (2003-04)
Penalty Minutes: 141 – Chris Nilan (1985-86)
Games Played: 25 – 28 players from the 2005-06 Hurricanes and 2010-11 Bruins
Plus/Minus: +28 – Wayne Gretzky (1984-85)
Shots: 116 – Henrik Zetterberg (2007-08)
Shooting Percentage: 39.4% - Craig Simpson (1987-88) 

Here are a few interesting age related stats about Stanley Cup winning players:

- The youngest player (Patrick Roy, 20) and oldest player (Tim Thomas, 36) to win the Conn Smythe Trophy were both goalies.

- The youngest defenseman to win the Conn Smythe Trophy is Bobby Orr (21) and the oldest is Scott Stevens (35).

- The youngest forward to win the Conn Smythe Trophy is Jonathan Toews (21) and the oldest is Jean Beliveau (33).

- There was a 15 year gap between Patrick Roy’s first and last Conn Smythe Trophy (20 and 35 years old).

- The average Conn Smythe Trophy winner was 26.8 years old.

- The oldest player to win the Stanley Cup is Chris Chelios at 46 years of age.

- The oldest goalie to win the Stanley Cup is Dominik Hasek at 43 years of age.

- The only 18 year old to ever win the Stanley Cup was Jaromir Jagr in 1990-91.

- Including Chelios and Hasek, only 8 players have won the Stanley Cup age 40 or older. Other notables include Ray Bourque (40), Dave Andreychuk (40), Igor Larionov (41) and Mark Recchi (42).

Mark Recchi also won the Stanley Cup at age 22 and 37.

Bryan Trottier, Glenn Anderson, Henri Richard, Ken Dryden, Kevin Lowe, Larry Robinson and Mark Messier have all won 6 Stanley Cups in the last 48 seasons.

- Serge Savard won 7 Stanley Cups while Jacques Lemaire and Yvan Cournoyer lead the way with 8 each.

 



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