Chicago Blackhawks: Most Overrated and Underrated Playoff Performers

Nicole Blum@@nblumNHLContributor IIIJune 10, 2013

Chicago Blackhawks: Most Overrated and Underrated Playoff Performers

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2010—thanks to some gutsy performances.

    Bryan Bickell and Corey Crawford have been arguably the best two players for the 'Hawks in the playoffs. But a few other players have received too much—or too little—credit for the team's success.

    Here are the most overrated and underrated playoff performers for the Blackhawks.

Overrated: Brandon Saad

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    Let me start by saying Brandon Saad has been a priceless addition to the Blackhawks this year. The rookie scored 10 goals and tallied 17 assists in the regular season.

    And he hasn't played poorly in the playoffs—he's just been unproductive during the most crucial part of the season.

    The Pittsburgh native has only four assists and a minus-four rating in 17 games played.

    These last games against the Boston Bruins should be Saad's time to remind us that he's on the track to becoming an elite NHL player.

Overrated: Dave Bolland

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    Dave Bolland's season has been injury-plagued. But even now that he's healthy again in the playoffs, Bolland has failed to return to form.

    Bolland has only one assist in 12 games thus far in the playoffs.

    With his 16 penalty minutes, he's also caused the 'Hawks to be shorthanded on a few occasions.

    Perhaps the Ontario native is still playing with a nagging injury. Perhaps he just hasn't felt the need to produce with other players stepping up their games.

    Whatever the reason for his lack of production, Bolland will need to bring his toughness and offensive talent to help the Blackhawks fend off the Bruins.

Underrated: Nicklas Hjalmarsson

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    Nicklas Hjalmarsson has hidden under the shadows of Duncan Keith during the playoffs.

    Hjalmarsson, however, has played just as well as the former Norris Trophy winner.

    With five assists and the best plus/minus rating on the team of plus-10, Hjalmarsson is keeping pucks away from Corey Crawford while assisting on the offensive end. The Swedish defenseman also has blocked 32 shots in 17 games played and ranks sixth right behind Boston's Zdeno Chara.

    Hjalmarsson stepped up during Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings during Duncan Keith's suspension, helping beat L.A. at the Staples Center for the first time in the playoffs.

    His defensive skills will come in handy against the powerful Boston team.

Underrated: Michal Handzus

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    Nothing much was expected to come from Michal Handzus when he was traded from the San Jose Sharks during the season except for help at the faceoff circle. He only racked up two points in 28 games played with the Sharks.

    But for the Blackhawks, Handzus has two goals and seven assists in the playoffs thus far. He may be the oldest player on the ice, but he's playing with the determination of a rookie who wants to prove himself.

    Handzus has been a crucial piece to the second line as the center between Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.