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Victor

Top 10 Playoff Performers of All Time

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Top playoff performers


No preamble needed. Here is the preamble: https://vhlforum.com/topic/55832-finding-the-best-vhl-players-of-all-time/
 

 

10. Doug Schneider (S2-S8) @Da Bearfan

Cups: 4

Finals: 7 out of 7

Key stats: 68 assists (3rd), 84 points (18th), 157 shots blocked (6th)

 

One half of the Hebrew Hammers, Doug Schneider has an enviable playoffs record – a finals appearance every season of his career, four of them triumphant. Despite this, most will not recognise the names as the defenceman won no individual awards and didn't make the Hall of Fame. It's clear from his stats however, even nearly 60 seasons on, that Schneider wasn't just there to make up the numbers – he was an integral part of the early era Calgary and Helsinki teams and a key contributor to the making of the VHL.


 

9. Sterling Labatte (S1-S9) @sterling

Cups: 3

Playoff MVPs: 2

Key stats: 59 assists (10th), 83 points (T-21st), 161 shots blocked (5th)
 

Labatte is not generally renowned for his postseason play, with the trophy named after him being a regular season one. Yet there can't be any doubt that the legend was the second best defenceman in playoff history. He won three cups in a career spent entirely in Calgary, and one of his playoff MVP trophies was in a season where they lost. To this day, there are only a handful of players who so clearly reflect both a VHL generation and a particular team's dynasty – Labatte is one of these not just for his regular season prowess, but for stepping up when it mattered most as well.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article


 

8. John Locke (S54-S60) @Will

Cups: 4

Playoff MVPs: 1

Key stats: 61 goals (1st), 45 assists (35th), 106 points (3rd)


Almost no one talked about it, but Locke managed to finish his career with the most playoff goals ever, and doing it in just a couple more games than his closest rivals, Campbell and Chershenko. Four cups is a rare feat, but just one Kanou Trophy does pose the question – quite how integral to his teams was this enigmatic forward? Reliable rather than flashy was the name of the game for Locke, but with that stat line, his place in the pantheon of playoff greats is preserved.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article

 

 

7. Brick Wahl (S36-S43) @Advantage

Cups: 2

Playoff MVPs: 2

Key stats: 29 wins (T-16th), 12 shutouts (1st), 0.931 save % (7th), 1.93 GAA (1st)


If ever there was a player who elevated his playoff performances above regular season, it was Brick Wahl (the original). An otherwise solid goaltender, Wahl probably would have just missed out on the Hall of Fame if it weren't were two eye-catching performances as he led a star-studded New York to two cups. The only thing that can be held against Wahl is his relatively low number of playoff games played (49), nearly half of which came in the two winning campaigns. It's enough to be remembered as a playoff giant, but too small a sample size to compare with some others.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article


 

6. Elijah Incognito (S27-S34) @Strummer

Cups: 3

Playoff MVPs: 1

Key stats: 73 assists (T-1st), 94 points (T-7th), 195 shots blocked (1st)

 

Defensemen are very hard to rank in the VHL, even against each other let alone against other positions. They are clearly important parts of their teams, but are rarely in the MVP conversation. Hence, it's all the more impressive when they end up winning like Incognito did after an inspired 34-point performance in S33. It helped elevate a solid career to a great one, although some might still argue against his inclusion on this list. What Incognito does have going for him is his 3 cups with 3 different teams, two of which, Toronto and Riga, were far from favourites to win anything in those seasons. He started off slow but by the end of his career was undoubtedly a key part of much of his era's success.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article

 

 

5. Gabriel McAllister (S56-S63) @CowboyinAmerica

Cups: 2

Playoff MVPs: 2

Key stats: 43 goals (T-5th), 49 assists (26th), 92 points (T-10th), 286 hits (13th)


The recent season with Seattle didn't end like he'd wanted, but McAllister's legacy was already secure. His Kanou Trophies with Seattle and Davos were two of the best single season performances ever, and lifted two franchises who hadn't tasted success in decades. What stands out compared to every other high-scoring playoff forward is the high number of hits, a rare case of someone doing the dirty work and still shining on the scoresheet. McAllister retires as a modern day great, but perhaps his entry in this position on this list in the modern VHL is the most impressive achievement of them all.


 

4. Alexander Chershenko (S27-S34) @Victor

Cups: 2

Playoff MVPs: 2

Key stats: 53 goals (3rd), 62 assists (6th), 115 points (2nd)

 

For decades, no one came close to Scotty Campbell's playoff stats. For years, his closest rivals statistically were Labatte, who retired a season after Campbell, and Slobodzian, who retired before him. Enter expansion which levelled the playing field, but just before that Chershenko, who lived for the playoffs. A cup-winning goal and MVP arrived in S30, then another cup in S32, with the second playoff MVP after a still unbeaten record 18-goal and 36-point haul in a losing effort in S34. Chershenko showed Campbell wasn't untouchable, by becoming a bit untouchable himself.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article


 

3. Daisuke Kanou (S18-S25) @tfong

Cups: 3

Playoff MVPs: 3

Key stats: 38 wins (4th), 7 shutouts (T-3rd), 0.928 save % (12th), 2.17 GAA (8th)
 

How do you rank a goalie who either dropped the best goaltending performances in VHL playoff history or turned out with the most mediocre showings? Kanou won three of what became Kanou trophies, and they were all in cup winning seasons. When Davos wasn't at its best, neither was Kanou, but when Davos was in the running for the championship, Kanou was indispensable. A record-breaking, obscene S24 stat line of 8-1-2, 0.98GAA, .962SV% contributes to the aura of the Japanese netminder, and you can't rank him any lower.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article


 

2. Hans Wingate (S43-S50) @CowboyinAmerica

Cups: 4

Playoff MVPs: 2

Key stats: 51 wins (1st), 9 shutouts (2nd), 0.929 save % (10th), 1.99 GAA (3rd)


Wingate got the moniker WinGOD in his rookie VHL season, when he didn't even do much winning. Subsequently, the Scottish netminder became arguably the best goaltender in league history – but that's a story for a different top 10 list. The playoffs is where Wingate made his name and if you take out a bizarrely unlucky spell with Riga where he was swept in the first round both time, Wingate won four cups in five attempts, and was one win away from a fifth. He led a young underdog Calgary team to an unexpected championship and yet won his first Kanou Trophy as a losing finalist the year after. The second came as he led Toronto to the first cup of a historic threepeat which sealed his place as the best postseason goaltender of all time.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article


 

1. Scotty Campbell (S1-S8) @scotty

Cups: 4

Playoff MVPs: 2

Key stats: 57 goals (2nd), 73 assists (T-1st), 130 points (1st)

 

There's now been 55 VHL seasons since Scotty Campbell retired and yet no one has quite topped him in enough areas just yet. It's fitting that Campbell's main rivals for this crown are goalies, since his records are nearly untouchable for goalies, although his dominance is much less pronounced than in regular season stats, as evidenced by Chershenko coming close and Locke scoring more goals. It's hard to look past the hard numbers, not to mention the four cups with three different teams in the early days of the VHL. Campbell's place is more up for debate than it ever has been but he remains in first place even now.

 

Link to Hall of Fame article


 

Honourable mentions:

Marek Van Urho (S9-S15)

Tied with Kanou for third most shutouts, best save percentage at .934 (discounting the two goalies ahead of him who played a combined 23 career playoff games), and a 1.96 GAA slotting in nicely between Wahl and Wingate in second place. Given the lack of stats from that era and that Van Urho never made the Hall of Fame, it's hard to escape the feeling that these great numbers are driven by one insane set of performances in S10, Van Urho's only cup and playoff MVP season. He's a bonafide Riga legend and belongs in this conversation, but given three goalies are already on the list, just misses out on the cut.
 

The Cleganes (S45-S52)

Greg and Sandro were right up there with Wingate throughout their careers, perhaps edging him during the regular season. In the playoffs though, both goalies have some shortfalls which put them behind the absolute greatest playoff goalies, although they are definitely on the level just below. Of course, they gave us a Cleganebowl final in S51 which was one of the all-time goaltending epics, so won't be too disappointed either way.
 

Brett Slobodzian (S1-S5)

One of the original VHL greats scored at a rate higher than 2 points per game during his playoff career, most of that thanks to his blistering start in the first 3 VHL seasons. No one else really came close, but it adds to the “what-if” story of Slobodzian. He was never the same after the S3 off-season, but before then was undoubtedly superior to Scotty Campbell. He probably would have been high up this list too if he stuck around.

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7 minutes ago, CowboyinAmerica said:

Hell yeah, I'll take two of the top five. Wingate at #2 would be what I'd expect, actually a bit surprised how high McAllister is. Great read!

Had written this most of this mid playoffs and I didn't assign rankings to Kanou, Chershenko, and McAllister as they could still move. Didn't quite work out (fortunately for Chershenko!), but damn what's with you and playoffs?

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Just now, Victor said:

Had written this most of this mid playoffs and I didn't assign rankings to Kanou, Chershenko, and McAllister as they could still move. Didn't quite work out (fortunately for Chershenko!), but damn what's with you and playoffs?

 

No idea. The Calgary/Wingate title came out of nowhere, and McAllister's literally been above a 3 seed in the playoffs once so (shrug emoji)

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@Victor Where is that 130 point stat from Campbell from? The HoF article says he only has 69 points.

 

Also there should be a note that playoff branches were shorter back then as well so it shouldn't be held against me that because i stonewalled several teams in sweeps or 4-1 and didn't pick up more wins. Also I feel that those Calgary squads at times had greater depth especially when looking at the S25 squad that had more than half the roster as CPUs.

Edited by tfong

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16 hours ago, tfong said:

@Victor Where is that 130 point stat from Campbell from? The HoF article says he only has 69 points.

 

Also there should be a note that playoff branches were shorter back then as well so it shouldn't be held against me that because i stonewalled several teams in sweeps or 4-1 and didn't pick up more wins. Also I feel that those Calgary squads at times had greater depth especially when looking at the S25 squad that had more than half the roster as CPUs.

If you add up the seasons Campbell had 130.  Whoever made it screwed it up

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On 12/11/2018 at 3:37 AM, tfong said:

@Victor Where is that 130 point stat from Campbell from? The HoF article says he only has 69 points.

 

Also there should be a note that playoff branches were shorter back then as well so it shouldn't be held against me that because i stonewalled several teams in sweeps or 4-1 and didn't pick up more wins. Also I feel that those Calgary squads at times had greater depth especially when looking at the S25 squad that had more than half the roster as CPUs.

Yeah so of course Campbell's article needs to be updated, not sure how that happened.

 

FYI though, I use the spreadsheets from this thread: https://vhlforum.com/topic/1067-vhl-career-playoffs-stats-updated-for-s54/

Although I have been slowly updating them to include the top recent players:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1jEpwF6nZUFXFWXgwpg-cW-jBCtONEUd0CnxX-lKX_IY/edit?usp=sharing

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1K61e1Xgl0LqO29t8oGMYcMvgtVJRIs3aq5aJs6HWulU/edit?usp=sharing

 

In regards to wins, Kanou only played 10 fewer games than Wingate. Although not sure what you mean anyway given you can't get more than 4 wins a series anyway, whether you sweep or go to 7. More importantly, wins aren't the guiding factor here, save % and GAA are more important in my eyes, as well as context.

 

And as for context, don't think you're comparing like with like there with Calgary. S44 Calgary depth is comparable to S20 Davos - meanwhile the later Toronto threepeat teams were about as shallow as S25 Davos. So the situations are quite similar.

 

If I had to mention a further argument I hadn't considered but is also valid - Kanou won two cups behind the reigning Labatte Trophy winner (Bergqvist and Schultz), and two cups featured another Hall of Fame defenceman in Singh. The best dman Wingate played with was an entry-level contract Black Velvet. All that said of course, you're still #3 after 63 seasons, and you've got the trophy named after you so nothing to worry about.

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Nice one. Wonder where Reik would rank here, iirc he had two or three really strong playoff performances. Hopefully at least top 20, although the competition is tight to say the least.

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2 minutes ago, TheLastOlympian07 said:

was he? i didn't think so Muller is like 8th all time in playoff scoring last I checked. but tbh i checked out of the VHL the last 8 seasons or so so I could be wrong

stats are linked a few posts up

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