After beating the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference championship, the Vancouver Canucks have qualified for their first appearance in the Stanley Cup final since 1994, when they lost to Mark Messier and the New York Rangers. Here are the top 10 Canucks playoff performers in the franchise’s 40-year history.
10. Stan Smyl
He retired in 1991 as the Canucks’ all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points and although those records have since been broken by Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund, Smyl remains a fond part of franchise lore. His nine-goal, 18-point playoff in 1982 was second on the team behind Thomas Gradin.
9. Harold Snepsts
Another franchise fan favorite, Snepsts was a phenomenal stay-at-home defenseman whose best playoff performance came in Vancouver’s 1982 run to the Cup final. Unfortunately, his turnover in overtime of Game 1 against the Isles led to the game-winning goal, but that doesn’t totally take away from his earlier efforts.
8. Greg Adams
Although he doesn’t have the overall point totals of a guy like Geoff Courtnall, Adams came through a couple times for Vancouver in 1994. He scored the game- and series-winning overtime goal against Toronto in Game 5 of the Western Conference final, then followed that up with another overtime-winner in Game 1 of the Cup final against the Rangers.
7. Cliff Ronning
Small in stature, the 5-foot-8 Ronning was a leviathan when games counted most. He is fourth on the team’s all-time playoff scoring list with 34 assists and 58 points in 72 games, including 10 assists and 15 points in the spring of ’94.
6. Richard Brodeur
Known as ‘King Richard’ Brodeur led the Canucks to the Cup final in 1982 against the New York Islanders. After making it through the ’81-82 regular season campaign with a 3.35 goals-against average, he turned up the heat with a 2.70 GAA in the best NHL post-season he would play.
5. Ryan Kesler
The newest addition to this list, Kesler has earned himself a place in Canucks lore forever with his Conn Smythe Trophy-worthy showing this spring. In 18 games, he’s amassed seven goals (including two game-winners), 18 points and a plus-6 while averaging 23:15 of ice time per game.
4. Thomas Gradin
Currently Vancouver’s associate head scout, Gradin was the Canucks’ leading playoff scorer in four of his eight seasons with the organization, including their 1982 run, when he had nine goals and 19 points in 17 games.
3. Pavel Bure
‘The Russian Rocket’ sits behind only Trevor Linden in franchise playoff points (34 goals and 66 points in 60 games) and was instrumental in Vancouver’s run to the ‘94 final, scoring 16 goals and 31 points in 24 games.
2. Kirk McLean
Another key member of the Canucks squad from ’94, McLean was astonishingly good during that run to the final, posting four shutouts, a .928 save percentage and a 2.29 GAA. He also is the team’s all-time leader in goalie playoff appearances (68), wins (34) and shutouts (six).
1. Trevor Linden
Arguably the most popular Canuck in team history, Linden is also the franchise’s leading playoff scorer with 61 assists and 95 points in 118 career post-season games. Despite playing in the 1994 Stanley Cup final with broken ribs and torn rib cartilage, he scored twice in Vancouver’s Game 7 loss to the Rangers.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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