The Most Important Player On Each NHL Playoff Team

1 of 17

Most Important Player On Each NHL Playoff Team

hockey
Rob-Grabowski-USA-TODAY-Sports

The quest for Lord Stanley has officially kicked off for 16 teams across North America. For the next six weeks teams will engage in war on their frozen ponds trying to win that elusive 16th game and be crowned hockey immortals.

The No. 5 seed Los Angeles Kings will look to defend their championship as they open the first round against the No. 4 seed St. Louis Blues, which is sure to be a long hard fought series. The Kings will once again need strong performances from their superstars and strong goaltending from Jonathan Quick, if they plan to bring the Holy Grail back to California.

The Washington Capitals have been the hottest team in the NHL over the last month and hope they can parlay that streak into the playoffs. Alexander Ovechkin and company are slated to line up against the New York Rangers which is destined to be a battle of the ages.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are hopeful that phenom Sidney Crosby can return from a broken jaw in time to square off against John Tavares and the No. 8 seed New York Islanders. The Penguins are the No. 1 seed in the division and have hopes of Stanley Cup grandeur this time around.

The Toronto Maple Leafs return to the playoffs after a nine year hiatus to face their arch rival in the Boston Bruins. Phil Kessel will be looking to stick it to his former team and launch the Leafs into the second round.

Buckle up hockey fans, its playoff time and here is a look at the most important player on each team for a successful playoff run.

2 of 17

Phil Kessel- Toronto Maple Leafs

hockey
John-E.-Sokolowski-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Maple Leafs playoff chances will go as far as Kessel will take them. Kessel should be extra motivated against his former team.

3 of 17

Pavel Datsyuk- Detroit Red Wings

hockey
Jerome-Miron-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Red Wings limped into the playoffs and are somewhat of a sleeper. If Datsyuk gets into a groove the Wings could turn some heads and make a run.

4 of 17

Patrick Marleau- San Jose Sharks

hockey
Bob-Stanton-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Sharks hope they can find that spark they had to start the season. If the sharks are going to swim this year they will need to be led by goal scorer Patrick Marleau.

5 of 17

John Tavares- New York Islanders

hockey
James-Guillory-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Islanders are the No. 8 seed playing with no pressure against the mighty Penguins. If the Islanders are going to score a major upset they will need their best player leading the charge. The Islanders go as far as Tavares can carry them.

6 of 17

Jeff Carter- Los Angeles Kings

hockey
Gary-A.-Vasquez-USA-TODAY-Sports

If the Kings are going to repeat they will need a solid effort from all their players, but none more important than Jeff Carter. If Carter finds his scoring stick, look out.

7 of 17

Erik Karlsson- Ottawa Senators

hockey
Geoff-Burke-USA-TODAY-Sports

Karlsson made a miraculous return from his season ending injury just in time for the playoffs. Karlsson will have to anchor the point and facilitate the offense if the Senators are going to upset the Habs.

8 of 17

Carey Price- Montreal Canadians

hockey
Eric-Bolte-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Canadians could be a playoff wildcard if they get solid goaltending in the playoffs. The task will rest on the shoulders of Carey Price. The Habs will be dangerous if Price is up to the task.

9 of 17

Brian Elliott- St. Louis Blues

hockey
Scott-Rovak-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Blues charge to the Stanley Cup will rest on the shoulders of their goaltender Brian Elliott. If he shines the Blues will upset the defending champions

10 of 17

Brad Marchand- Boston Bruins

hockey
Timothy-T.-Ludwig-USA-TODAY-Sports

Brad Marchand will need to find his scoring touch and bring his tenacity if the Bruins are going to go deep into the playoffs. Marchand is a huge piece to the offense of the Bruins.

11 of 17

Andrew Cogliano- Anaheim Ducks

hockey
Gary-A.-Vasquez-USA-TODAY-Sports

Cogliano is an important part of the supporting cast of the Ducks offense. The Ducks desperately need secondary scoring supplied by the likes of Cogliano to be successful.

12 of 17

Alex Ovechkin- Washington Capitals

hockey
Geoff-Burke-USA-TODAY-Sports

Alex The Great and the Capitals are coming into the playoffs as the hottest team in the NHL. If Ovechkin can continue his scoring prowess the Capitals could make a long run into the playoffs.

13 of 17

Zach Parise- Minnesota Wild

hockey
Brace-Hemmelgarn-USA-TODAY-Sports

If the Wild plan on upsetting the mighty Blackhawks they will need their best player to shine. Parise will need to play like a superstar if the Wild are going to have any chance against the Hawks.

14 of 17

Ryan Kesler- Vancouver Canucks

hockey
Anne-Marie-Sorvin-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Canucks will need Kesler to supplement the scoring of the Sedin's if the Canucks plan to be successful. Kesler is an integral piece of the Canucks secondary scoring and should be rested after missing most of the season due to injury.

15 of 17

Rick Nash- New York Rangers

hockey
Kevin-Hoffman-USA-TODAY-Sports

If the Rangers are going to skate with the Capitals then they will need their best player to show up each and every night. If Nash gets hot the Rangers could go deep with the lineup they have constructed.

16 of 17

Corey Crawford- Chicago Blackhawks

hockey
Rob-Grabowski-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Hawks have all the pieces in place to win the Stanley Cup if they get good goaltending. Crawford will be a key piece to the success of the Hawks Stanley Cup aspirations.

17 of 17

Marc-Andre Fleury- Pittsburgh Penguins

hockey
Charles-LeClaire-USA-TODAY-Sports

Fleury needs to rebound in a big way after a disappointing playoffs last season. The Penguins are huge favorites if Fleury can stop the rubber. The Penguins are hopeful he can produce this time around.

Around the Web