The Wisconsin Badgers hockey program has a proud tradition of producing terrific NHL talent. In the 2015-2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, nine former Badgers have made an appearance. Here is a quick briefing of how each of these nine players performed, or have been performing so far, in the playoffs.
Joe Pavelski – SJ
GP: 18, Goals: 13, Assists: 9, 5+/-
The star forward has played an integral role on the Sharks’ deep playoff run, and could contend for the Conn Smythe Trophy if San Jose can seal the deal in the postseason. In the last three games against the Blues, Pavelski scored four times, and his team now faces a 1-0 deficit in the Finals.
Ryan McDonagh – NYR
GP: 3, Goals: 0, Assists: 0, -1+/-
The Rangers’ star defenseman missed the first two games of their playoff series against the Penguins and was quiet when he returned, albeit not at 100% due to a hand injury.
Brendan Smith – DET
GP: 3, Goals: 0, Assists: 1, 2+/-
The Red Wing blue-liner was somewhat effective in three playoff games, as he picked up an assist and a solid plus minus. However, the Red Wings lost in five games to the semifinalist Lightning.
Jamie McBain – LAK
GP: 4, Goals: 0, Assists: 0, 0+/-
The Kings defenseman and Edina, Minnesota native was silent during their brief playoff series. He played less than 45 minutes in four games against San Jose, who is now playing for the championship.
Derek Stepan – NYR
GP: 5, Goals: 2, Assists: 0, 0+/-
Even in a losing effort, the Rangers center managed to produce by means of scoring two goals. A disappointing 0 +/- saw his Rangers eliminated in just five games.
Ryan Suter – MIN
GP: 6, Goals: 0, Assists: 3, 3+/-
One of the best in the business, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter produced in an entertaining series against the Stars. However, his effort was not enough, as the Wild were stopped in six games.
Justin Schultz – PIT
GP: 10, Goals: 0, Assists: 3, 4+/-
The Penguins reserve defenseman has seen limited time this postseason, but has produced at times, including an assist in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Schultz also spent more time on the ice in Game 1 than in any other playoff game so far (18:53).
Craig Smith – NSH
GP: 11, Goals: 1, Assists: 1, 1+/-
The former Badger center has quietly played solid hockey the last couple of years in Nashville, but didn’t do much in the team’s two playoff series. He totaled just 2 points in 11 total games played.
Brian Elliott – STL
GP: 18, Record: 9-9, .921 SV%
The former National Championship goalie performed well early in the playoffs, but faltered in the Western Conference Finals against the Sharks, which eventually led to his benching. He got his job back in Game 6 of the series, a game in which the Blues lost. Elliott gave up ten goals in his last three games.
Photo courtesy of CBS San Francisco