This time of year -- when the pressure mounts and every play is fraught with meaning -- might be when NHL legends are made, but it's not when you want to be scouting for next year's fantasy draft.
Last year in the conference finals, Buffalo's Thomas Vanek was in the press box. This season, he was a 42-goal scorer.
Samuel Pahlsson will still give you a good plus-minus rating next year, but if you're counting on breakaway goals of the kind he potted to win Game 2, you'll end up in the basement.
If you take their playoff performance as positive proof of things to come, here are three players you'll draft about four rounds too early next year:
- Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim: He's sitting eighth in playoff scoring, with 14 points, he just turned 22 and Don Cherry is calling him a superstar. That's great. He certainly is a fantastic player. But he's still not worthy of a second-round pick. Not yet. Remember, players who play late into June often get off to slow starts in the fall.
- Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa: If the Senators had won the first two games of the final, Alfie would be hearing talk of the Conn Smythe trophy for his outstanding (and out of character) playoff run. But next year he'll be turning 35 and may have just suffered the most crushing defeat of his career. It's hard to come back strong when you get so close and (potentially) come up short.
- Mikael Samuelsson, Detroit: He wiped away memories of a poor and injury-filled regular season with an 11-point playoff run. But two of his three goals were scored in the same game and many of his assists came from filling in on the power-play on the severely depleted Red Wings blueline. That won't happen with regularity next year. He's worth a late-round flier at best.
As an added warning, if the Ducks do take the cup, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere carries home the Conn Smythe and then enters free agency, be wary. The last man to take that trophy to the bank was Nikolai Khabibulin, who moved to Chicago, and promptly went into the tank, taking many fantasy seasons along with him.
The Extra Points is 24 Hours' fantasy sports column.