Every year there are players who breakout in the playoffs and then follow that up with strong regular seasons. This season we watched players like Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Joe Pavelski, Ville Leino amongst others elevate their game. This daily snippet will point out that player in an attempt to find some sleepers for next year prior to the end of the playoffs.
In pivotal games you can often look down the bench and see who wants it the most.
Last night, with their season on the line, both Daniel Briere and Alex Burrows found a way to elevate their game when it mattered the most. While neither player could be considered a sleeper of any kind, their strong performance in time of need should serve as a reminder why both players are important to draft next season.
Burrows scored both goals from the second line, playing primarily with Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler. Not only did he score the opening goal but he also sent the Vancouver Canucks into the second round with his overtime heroics. In addition, this chemistry with both the offensive talent of the second line and the already-found chemistry with the Sedin twins makes him a valuable asset and a safe bet to bounce back to his 2009-2010 points totals next season. Combined with his tendency to rack up PIM and Burrows should be a fixture in the shallowest of leagues and looks more like a 1A forward than a secondary player.
Burrows found a way to get his team the W last night, as did the diminutive Briere.
Pictured above giving his former teammate Ryan Miller a ‘lovetap’ on the back of the head following a first period goal from Braydon Coburn, Briere showed why the Buffalo Sabres were foolish to not offer him more money just five offseasons ago, scoring his team’s second goal and assisting on the first during their 5-2 victory. In fact, his presence was shown all night as he not only centered his normal line between Ville Leino and Scott Hartnell but also double shifted on the Mike Richards line due to the Philadelphia Flyers dressing seven defensemen. As Daniel Tolensky noted, via Twitter, Briere leads all players over the last two playoffs with 18 goals.
Guys who can step up when the games matter most prove to be an excellent asset to your regular season squad as they could very well go the extra mile with you as the GM. Although guys like Burrows and Briere very well could show some signs of playoff hangover next season, their continued surge put more than enough faith in our minds to make a reasonable gamble.
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