The Stanley Cup playoffs are lot like the stock market, and not just because they’re a venue through which very rich people invest very large sums of money for (sometimes) very little return.
Both are infamous for their fluctuation. Stock prices climb and fall and climb again. NHL teams and players exhibit the same streakiness from game to game. The goat on one night can become the G.O.A.T. by the end of the series. It’s the unpredictability that can enrich one’s life or turn one’s portfolio to trash.
For the 24 teams that entered the NHL postseason, there are some individuals whose stock has risen and some whose value has dropped. As you read this Stanley Cup stock watch, keep in mind the context: The stressful, isolating life inside the NHL “bubbles” is going to affect players in different ways, and there’s no telling how many have seen their stock drop because of it.
With that, let’s see which players have raised their valuation this postseason, and whose price is headed in the wrong direction.
Stock up: David Krejci, C
Krejci has 10 points in nine postseason games, including a seven-game point streak that continued in the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Lightning. Boston fans shout out “Playoff Krejci” on social media with every new exploit, a reference to his elevated postseason play (36 points in his past 45 playoff games) compared to solid but unspectacular regular-season numbers (43 points in 61 games this season).
Stock down: Zdeno Chara, D
Some of the Bruins’ spare parts and role players haven’t performed up to standards, but we’ll give a slight tick down in stock price to the veteran blueliner. He’s still a physical presence around the crease, but there have certainly been times when he has struggled to handle the speed in the restarted season. His underlying numbers — 42.59 Corsi for percentage, 41.25% expected goals for while on the ice at 5-on-5 — reflect that.
Stock up: Nazem Kadri, C
With 12 points through nine games — including points in eight of those nine — Kadri began the postseason as the Avalanche’s best offensive player not named Nathan MacKinnon. But it is his tenacity while toeing the line of legality, with just one minor penalty thus far, that sets him apart. He brought sandpaper to a lineup that needed it; and, in turn, showed the Maple Leafs how much they missed it in his absence.
Stock down: Nikita Zadorov, D
While the defenseman’s fashion choices have been on point in the bubble, his game has been inconsistent. Zadorov and Ian Cole have been the Avalanche’s most porous defensive pairing in nine games. With Cole moving up to play with Samuel Girard, Zadorov gets a chance to get that stock back up with a new partner. He’ll have to be better to get it there.
Stock up: Miro Heiskanen, D
The 21-year-old defenseman has 13 points in his first 10 playoff games this season, making him one of the leading scorers in the league. In a “Quinn vs. Cale” world of standout young defensemen in the West, Miro has entered the chat. “He’s an exceptional player. He’s an exceptional person. He does have Norris Trophy written all over him,” coach Rick Bowness said.
Stock down: Andrej Sekera, D
The veteran defenseman has been paired with both Stephen Johns (before his injury) and Taylor Fedun, and both pairings have been outscored at 5-on-5. He has zero points and is a minus-4 in 10 games. He has seen his ice time fall below 11:33 in four of the past five games.
Stock up: Anthony Beauvillier, LW
He leads the Islanders with six goals, to go along with three assists. He scored the series-clinching goals against the Panthers and the Capitals. His line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey has been absolutely on fire, with an expected goals rate of 4.05 per 60 minutes at 5-on-5.
Stock down: Casey Cizikas, C
Stocks are inherently a speculative venture. While he is by no means an offensive force, there was some thought that Cizikas could have an uptick in production in the playoffs after scoring 30 goals over the past two regular seasons combined. He has one assist in 10 games, and his line has been on the wrong side of shot attempts during the postseason. But when the Islanders are rolling like they are, this is an annoyance rather than a major malfunction.
Stock up: Carter Hart, G
There was an image of Hart and Montreal goaltender Carey Price at the end of their quarterfinal series shaking hands. Not pictured: the torch being passed from one generation’s great Canadian goaltender to the next. Hart, 22, posted a .943 save percentage through eight games for the Flyers, including back-to-back shutouts. We’re still getting used to this whole “goaltending is the least of the Philadelphia Flyers’ worries” thing, but here we are.
Stock down: James van Riemsdyk, LW
His stock began to drop in the regular season, with 40 points in 66 games and a significant drop in ice time (14:54 per game) under new head coach Alain Vigneault. His stock hasn’t rallied at all in the restart, with no points in six appearances, a healthy scratch and playing just over 12 minutes on average against Montreal. He has three more years at $7 million against the cap on his contract.
Stock up: Yanni Gourde, RW
His stock took a tumble in the regular season after his shooting percentage plummeted to 9.1%, but the spark-plug winger has two goals and two assists in nine playoff games, all at even strength. Gourde has brought good energy against two tough defensive opponents.
Stock down: Mikhail Sergachev, D
Defensively, he’s a minus-3 in penalties, tied for worst on the team. Offensively, he has gotten some bad puck luck but also has only one even-strength assist in his first nine playoff games. That’s while running the point on an immensely talented power play that is clicking at just 11.1% through nine games, and was 0-for-3 in Game 1 against the Bruins.
Stock up: Jacob Markstrom, G
Offensive fireworks aside, where would the Canucks be without Markstrom’s .922 save percentage on 384 shots through 11 games? Granted, Game 1 against Vegas wasn’t the finest moment for him or the team. But he was the difference in the Canucks’ previous series wins over Minnesota and St. Louis. Not a bad bit of business before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Stock down: Antoine Roussel, LW
Truth be told, Roussel hasn’t been bad in this postseason, with a 51.49% expected goals percentage and average possession numbers. But when your primary job is to agitate the opponent, and that opponent not only cites your tomfoolery as inspiration for its rout but literally laughs at said agitator while he sits in the penalty box … well, that’s market correction, friends.
Stock up: Reilly Smith, LW
At best, he was known as a great complementary player on the Knights’ tremendous top line since arriving in their inaugural season from Florida. But with 10 points in nine games and playing all-around tremendous hockey, his star is starting to shine on its own this postseason, as the Knights look as dominant as anyone.
Stock down: Marc-Andre Fleury, G
This isn’t about his play, as Fleury had a solid 26-save win over Chicago. This isn’t about his agent tweeting an image with the Vegas coach’s sword in Fleury’s back, although that dust-up — and Fleury’s evasive comments about it — didn’t do him any favors. This is about the fact that if you’re a starting goalie who loses the crease for any reason — or whatever justification Peter DeBoer isn’t sharing publicly — then your stock has dropped. And Fleury’s has, for the moment.
Round 1 and done
Stock up: Darcy Kuemper, G
Forget the 10 goals he surrendered in the final two games against Colorado, which were a product of exhaustion and a team waving the white flag against a superior opponent. The Coyotes’ only win in that series came when he made 49 saves, which was the same number he made in their elimination game against the Predators. Arizona’s goaltending has been praised for the past couple of seasons. Kuemper’s postseason makes him a name brand beyond that general praise.
Stock down: Phil Kessel, RW
There was hope that the months-long break would give Phil The Thrill time to recover physically and try to atone for his underwhelming first season in Arizona. Instead, he mustered only one even-strength goal, along with four assists, in nine games. Kessel went scoreless in the Coyotes’ five-game series against Colorado and didn’t register a shot on goal in their 7-1 embarrassment of an elimination game.
Stock up: Cam Talbot, G
He didn’t come through in the most important game of the playoffs, getting yanked from Game 6 against Dallas after the Stars rallied before returning for the third period. That’s a shame, because the rest of his run for the Flames was stellar: a .924 save percentage and two shutouts, frequently being the Flames’ best player. It might not have been enough to earn him a new contract with Calgary, but his stock should be up in that crowded free-agent goalie market.
Stock down: Johnny Gaudreau, LW
Hopes were high that the winger would build on a strong second half to his season, but that didn’t happen in the postseason. Gaudreau had one even-strength point in 10 games, to go with three goals and three assists on the power play. His line with Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm cratered in the playoffs, with a 37.6% expected goals percentage at 5-on-5. The trade whispers are growing louder.
Stock up: Andrei Svechnikov, RW
One of the breakout stars of the season, the winger had four goals and three assists in six games before a tumble to the ice courtesy of Zdeno Chara put him on the shelf in Game 3 of the quarterfinals. His stock continued to climb in his absence, as Carolina certainly felt his absence.
Stock down: Nino Niederreiter, RW
The winger had a woefully underwhelming regular season — 0.43 points per game, his lowest average since he was patrolling the fourth line for the 2011-12 Islanders — and generated one primary assist in seven postseason games. (His power-play goal was a gift-wrapped turnover from Jaroslav Halak.) He was a team worst minus-6, was a healthy scratch against Boston, and his ice time dropped like a boulder through the end of that series. The Canes needed more offense this postseason, and not having players like Niederreiter hitting their marks was an issue.
Stock up: Kirby Dach, C
The 19-year-old rookie got a trial by fire in the postseason, and passed the test. Dach had a goal and five assists in the playoffs, with four of those helpers coming in Chicago’s qualification-round upset of Edmonton. “In the live games I’ve watched of other teams, I thought that he’s a kid that used the four months and came back and really looks like a different player,” said Vegas coach Pete DeBoer.
Stock down: Alexander Nylander, LW
Once upon a time, Nylander saw time with Patrick Kane on the Blackhawks’ top scoring line. But he skated only around total 16 minutes with Kane in the playoffs. He ended up with zero points in eight games played with a minus-4, becoming a spare part that skated 10:12 or less in his last five games of the playoffs before being a healthy scratch in the finale.
Stock up: Pierre-Luc Dubois, C
The answer here for many would have been “Seth Jones,” and there’s no doubt that an outstanding defenseman who averaged 32:40 per game — thanks, five-overtime game! — opened some eyes. But Jones was fourth in voting for the Norris Trophy in 2018. We knew he was this good. Dubois, on the other hand, had 10 points in 10 games and dominated offensively for stretches. He played pretty nasty, too. The impression he left on Toronto media after the qualification round was that he was the mutant hybrid of John Tavares and Doug Gilmour. So yes, his stock is up even higher than that of Jones.
Stock down: Elvis Merzlikins, G
The Latvian rookie sensation didn’t play poorly, with a 21-save shutout and a 49-save performance in an overtime loss against the Maple Leafs. But after a regular season where his play elevated the Jackets in playoff contention, Elvis had left the crease in the bubble, with Joonas Korpisalo retaking the starter’s job and having a star-making postseason. They’re both signed for the next two seasons. We’ll see if Elvis can have a comeback special to be the Jackets’ primary starter in 2020-21.
Stock up: Nick Suzuki, C
What a star-making performance from the rookie center. He had seven points in 10 games, tied for the team lead in goals. He was clutch, he played hard and he even got into the nasty side of playoff hockey during Head-Pat Gate. That September 2018 trade that brought Suzuki and Tomas Tatar to Montreal from Vegas for Max Pacioretty gets more interesting every season.
Stock down: Max Domi, C
Domi isn’t exactly known for being the quiet type, but he certainly was on the stat sheet. He had three assists in 10 games, all of them coming in the Canadiens’ Game 2 blowout over Philly and one of them coming at even strength. He had one shot on goal or none in six games. An invisible performance on the eve of his restricted free agent talks. In fairness to Domi: He was asked to participate in a restarted season despite being in a high-risk group for complications from COVID-19. That’s not an excuse. But bubble stress is a reality for these athletes.
Stock up: Ryan O’Reilly, C
The legend of Ryan O’Reilly continued to grow, even after the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Selke Trophy last season. During the Blues’ best — well, only — stretch of good hockey in the bubble, O’Reilly had five points in Games 3 and 4 en route to four goals and seven assists overall in the postseason. It’s not every player who can shut down opponents defensively while having the opposing coach answer questions about how they’re going to stop that player offensively. But that was O’Reilly for a good portion of that series.
Stock down: Jordan Binnington, G
From last postseason’s sensation to this postseason’s disaster. Binnington went 0-5 in the bubble, with a .851 save percentage and a 4.72 goals-against average. He dropped the first two games of the Blues’ series against Vancouver and watched Jake Allen go 2-1 in the next three. As he had so many times during the Blues’ Stanley Cup-winning run in 2019, coach Craig Berube turned to Binnington with his team’s backs against the wall … but this time, the goalie gave up four goals on 18 shots and was pulled 8:06 into the second period of the Blues’ Game 6 elimination. This, friends, is why you give suddenly spectacular goalies bridge contracts, as Binnington is signed only through next season.
Stock up: Ilya Samsonov, G
Things were so bad for the Capitals in the bubble that they immediately fired coach Todd Reirden upon returning to D.C. Samsonov never entered the bubble due to injuries during the pause. We’re left with memories of a pristine rookie season (16-6-2, .913 save percentage) and a crease that the 22-year-old is expected to inherit once free agent Braden Holtby leaves in the offseason. The Capitals haven’t closed the door on Holtby, but he seemed resigned to the fact that he had played his last games in Washington.
Stock down: Brian MacLellan, general manager
Barry Trotz won a Stanley Cup for the Capitals. He wanted a five-year extension, despite have a clause in his contract that triggered a two-year extension if he won the Cup. The Capitals wouldn’t commit to that, so he left for the Islanders … and then eliminated Washington two years later in the conference quarterfinals. That’s bad. What’s worse is that MacLellan had to acknowledge his mistake in elevating assistant coach Reirden to the big job, and watching the standards for the franchise slip in two seasons. “We need an experienced coach. We have an experienced group. We need someone to come in and push some buttons on some good players,” he said. Had that been the mindset in 2018, the Capitals might not have wasted two seasons of Alex Ovechkin‘s remaining years.
Stock up: Connor McDavid, C
What else can be said about McDavid’s offensive prowess? He had nine points in four games against Chicago, with a point in every game. That included his hat trick in the Oilers’ only win of the series. It’s a shame our lasting memory of McDavid in these playoffs is how distracting he found the hats being tossed in an empty arena.
Stock down: Andreas Athanasiou, LW
GM Ken Holland’s big trade deadline swing went scoreless in four games, skating under 10 minutes in the first two contests. He was a minus-2 in the elimination game against the Blackhawks. This followed a regular season in which he had just a goal and an assist in nine games for Edmonton.
Stock up: Sergei Bobrovsky, G
A little perspective here: Consider how low Bobrovsky’s stock was coming into this postseason, after the weight of his massive free-agent contract crushed him to the tune of a .900 save percentage in the regular season. Against the Islanders, he had two strong games — including a 20-save performance that gave the Panthers their only win of the series — and two not-very-good games. So a slight uptick after a market crash. Baby steps.
Stock down: Mike Matheson, D
One of the worst individual performances out of anyone who entered the bubble. He lasted two games against the Islanders before coach Joel Quenneville made him a healthy scratch for the last two games. General manager Dale Tallon gave Matheson an eight-year deal in 2017, with partial trade protection beginning after the 2020-21 season. Perhaps that’s one reason he’s now former general manager Dale Tallon.
Stock up: Matt Dumba, D
Dumba skated 25:03 per game on average, was second on the team with 14 shots on goal, had an assist and was a plus-1 in the Wild’s four games. But this postseason will always be remembered for something he did on the ice but not in uniform: His remarkable speech before the start of the conference postseason as a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance. “For those unaffected by systematic racism or are unaware, I’m sure some of you believe that this topic has garnered too much attention these last couple of months. But let me assure you that it has not. Racism is a man-made creation. All it does is deteriorate from our collective prosperity. Racism is everywhere and we need to fight against it,” Dumba said. He also took a knee during the U.S. anthem prior to that game, and raised a fist during both anthems while playing for the Wild.
Stalock started all four games in the bubble, posting an .897 save percentage against a high-octane Canucks offense. But both goalies were put on notice by general manager Bill Guerin, who said neither was guaranteed a spot next season even though they’re both under contract. “I was disappointed in the goaltending this year,” Guerin said. “It needs to be better, that’s just the way it is. If I told you anything different I’d be lying to you. It was not a strong point for us.”
Stock ip: The “JoFA” line
Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson were reunited, and it felt so good. They outscored Arizona 4-1 at 5-on-5 and had an 81.04% expected goals percentage (!) for the series. Injuries and ineffectiveness kept them apart during the season. It was brilliant to watch that trio operate at full capacity again.
Stock down: Matt Duchene, C
He was signed as a big-name free agent to be an offensive difference-maker, and managed a secondary power-play assist in Game 1 before scoring his lone goal of the postseason in Game 4. His line with Kyle Turris and Mikael Granlund was also a defensive liability for the Predators, who had an .895 team save percentage when those three were on the ice.
Stock up: New York Lottery
Look, the Rangers were dominated and swept out of the postseason by Carolina. We could give a player like rookie Adam Fox a pat on the helmet for playing well in that brief stretch. But let’s not kid ourselves: The biggest win for the Rangers was losing, entering the draft lottery and using that 12.5% chance to secure the first overall pick and (likely) winger Alexis Lafreniere. That is going to be the tale they tell of the Rangers’ 2020 postseason years from now — potentially under a shower of ticker tape.
Stock down: Tony DeAngelo, D
One power-play assist in three games with a team-worst minus-6 and a team-high 16 penalty minutes for the Rangers. He was also used as highlight-reel enhancement talent by Sebastian Aho. Not the best showing ahead of a restricted free agent negotiation.
Stock up: Jason Zucker, LW
The best forward the Penguins had in their first-round loss to Montreal. Granted, this accolade is almost by default, but the former Minnesota Wild winger had two goals in four games and played with a spirit lacking in many of his new teammates.
Stock down: Matt Murray, G
He was extremely outplayed in the regular season by Tristan Jarry, but his previous playoff experience for the Penguins — and, apparently, coach Mike Sullivan’s gratitude for past accomplishments — led to him starting three of four games against the Canadiens. He wasn’t terrible — a .914 save percentage, minus-0.8 expected goals against — but he wasn’t a difference-maker. Jarry was finally given the crease in Game 4, stopping 20 of 21 shots, but it was too late. Both goalies are restricted free agents. It might have been Murray’s last season in Pittsburgh.
Stock up: Auston Matthews, C
Matthews had two goals and four assists in the Leafs’ qualification-round loss to Columbus. A disastrous 2018 playoff performance — two points in seven games — gave him a “postseason underachiever” label. He now has 12 points in his past 12 playoff games, and led the Leafs with 27 shots on goal in five games against the Blue Jackets. That’s after a 47-goal regular season in just 70 games. He is not the problem.
Stock down: Mitch Marner, RW
Once the Canadian golden boy for Maple Leafs fans, his contentious contract negotiation with the team last summer both shifted perceptions and raised expectations for the 23-year-old winger. They were not met in the postseason loss to Columbus, with four assists in five games; three of those assists came in Game 4, none at even strength. Marner didn’t help himself by saying that in Game 1 he didn’t feel he “was engaged with physical-ness at all.” It’s never a good thing when Leafs GM Kyle Dubas feels compelled to speak up and call criticism of Marner “among the most idiotic things that I see done here.”
Stock up: Mark Scheifele, C
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and no absence was felt harder than Winnipeg getting just 2:59 in ice time from Scheifele before his season-ending injury. The Jets surprised many in winning Game 2 without him, but by the end of the series it was clear that losing Scheifele meant losing any shot at advancing.
Stock down: Neal Pionk, D
Overall, his stock price remains high after a strong regular season (45 points) following his trade from the Rangers as part of the Jacob Trouba swap last summer. But his four games for the Jets against the Flames should be deleted from the memory banks: He was on the ice for more goals against in all situations than any other player, and had a team-high 10 giveaways in the series loss to Calgary.