The Stanley Cup playoffs are the perfect venue for NHL players to make a name for themselves. League history is filled with stories of stars stepping up in the postseason. Superstars burnish their reputations, while lesser lights improve their value.
While a strong effort is magnified in the heat of postseason action, so too is a poor performance. A healthy, usually reliable player struggling in the playoffs comes under far more scrutiny and criticism than in the regular season. Fans and pundits measure his play against his regular-season performance and previous postseason numbers.
As the playoffs progress, the pressure mounts, increasing the difficulty for a slumping player to regain his form. Given the stakes, a talented player failing to perform at his expected level can have serious consequences for a team's championship hopes.
The following is a ranking of 10 players struggling the most through the opening round of this year's playoffs.