NHL Playoffs: Canucks Top Five Players to Date

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IMay 7, 2010

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 23:  Mikael Samuelsson #26 of the Vancouver Canucks is congratulated by teammates Henrik Sedin #33, Pavol Demitra #38 and Sami Salo #6 after scoring against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 23, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

I thought I would sneak this in before the next game, now that the trash-talking has kicked into high gear with all the Chicago Blackhawk commentators railing against the Vancouver Canucks.

Thanks for participating guys, I knew you would bite.

The No. 1 player for the Canucks is Mikael Samuelsson, as he leads the playoffs with eight goals and four assists. The one area that has really impressed me is his physical play, which speaks volumes for his level to compete and will to win.

The 'Nucks need more guys like Samuelsson.

The Sedin Twins, Daniel and Henrik, fall into second-and third-place, respectfully. Although Daniel has one more point at 11 and two game-winning goals, I’ll give the nod to second to Henrik, who has been strong in the faceoff circle (59 percent), and has hung in there when the going got tough.

We’ll see if the Hart Trophy nominee rises to the occasion for tonight's pivotal Game Four in Vancouver.

If the Canucks can both get back to playing hockey, and quit trying to do their best “Slap Shot” imitations, maybe this series will return where it belongs—locked at two apiece.

Number four on the top five list of best Canuck players may come as a surprise to some, but this smallish player just seems to love playing the Blackhawks, and I’m speaking about Kyle Wellwood. Is this not the quickest you have seen Wellwood move? And he always seems to be able to come out of the scrum with the puck.

His defensive game has really shone this year, and even more so in the playoffs. Throw in his determination and will to compete in the physical area with body checks, a leads face-off percentage on the Canucks with 61, and this wasn’t a hard choice at all.

In Game Three, he had the best Canuck line that made things happen all game.

Last but not least, yet reluctantly so, No. 5 is Alex Edler. It sure isn’t because of his physical play, but since he leads the team in plus-minus with a plus-9, and is tied with Christian Ehrhoff in points with five, then so be it.

If only he wasn’t so passive in his own end.

An honorable mention goes to Shane O’Brien, who has been steady, kept his cool, made good reads, and supplied some grit in the physical department.

You got to love his will to urge his teammates to play more physical, but let’s face it, the Canucks do not have enough of those type of players or the size, so back to composed play.

It doesn’t say a lot, when some nights Mason Raymond and Wellwood lead the forwards in hits. It just shows you that if you have enough speed and determination to get in on the forecheck, then you can make things happen.

Where’s my jersey? It’s time to get ready for the game.