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  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

No goals, no problem - defensive defencemen in the playoffs.

It is not secret that scoring decreases in the NHL playoffs compared to the regular season. With every game of the utmost importance, teams will sacrifice offensive output for defensive prowess. It is during these times that the shutdown defenceman, previously anonymous, can become a shutdown hero. One of the players features in this post, Craig Muni, is the perfect example, holding the record for most career playoff games played without scoring a goal (113). In recognition of players like Muni, below is a list of eight players who rank top 200 in playoff career games played but have scored less than five goals:

  1. Niklas Hjalmarsson, two goals in 137 games. A three-time Cup winner with Chicago (2010, 2013, 2015), both of his playoff goals have come against Nashville in years the Hawks won the Cup. He also scored the would be series clincher in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Semi-Finals, but had it called back on an offsetting penalty call.

  2. Braydon Coburn, three goals in 137 games. Coburn won a Cup with Tampa Bay in 2020, with his most memorable goal being the game winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against Detroit in 2015 - the Lightning would lose to Hawks in the Finals that season.

  3. Craig Ludwig four goals in 177 games. A two-time Cup winner (1986 with Montreal, 1999 with Dallas), Ludwig had 11 years lapse between career playoff goals (April 9, 1988 and June 10, 1999).

  4. Brooks Orpik, four goals in 156 games. A two-time Cup winner as well (2009 with Pittsbrugh, 2018 with Washington), two of Orpik's four goals were overtime winners: Game 6 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals to clinch the series and Game 2 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals.

  5. Jean-Guy Talbot, four goals in 151 games. Talbot won seven Stanley Cups with Montreal in the 1950s and 1960s, scoring goals in three consecutive playoffs (1960-62)

  6. Sylvain Lefebvre, four goals in 129 games. Lefebvre won a Cup with Colorado in 1996, but scored three of his four playoff goals in the 1993 playoffs with Toronto.

  7. Petr Svoboda, four goals in 127 games. Svoboda won the 1986 Cup with Montreal, scoring one of his four goals as a short-handed marker for Buffalo against Boston in Game 1 of the 1992 Adams Division Semi-Finals.

  8. Ken Daneyko, five goals in 175 games. A three-time Cup winner with New Jersey (1995, 2000, 2003), scored three of his five goals in his first playoff appearance. His most famous goal came in Game 1 of the 2000 Finals against Dallas.

  9. Tim Hunter, five goals in 132 games. A Cup winner with Calgary in 1989, Hunter is the only forward on this list. He scored four of his five career goals in nine games during the 1988 post-season.

Card 369 - Patrik Sundstrom

A centre, Sundstrom was drafted 175th overall by Vancouver in 1980. Following the draft, he stayed in his native Sweden, winning a World Junior gold and being named best forward in the 1981 tournament. The following season Sundstrom was named best player in the Swedish Elitserien.

In his rookie NHL season of 1982-83, Sundstrom scored 23 goals and 46 points, with his sophomore season being his career best, scoring 38 goals, and leading the Canucks with 91 points. He continued to be solid contributor in the next three seasons, scoring 20+ goals twice and never recording less than 66 points. Stuck in the Smythe Division with powerhouses Edmonton and Calgary, the Canucks never advanced beyond the division semi-finals before Sundstrom was traded to New Jersey with two draft picks for Kirk McLean and Greg Adams prior to the start of the 1987-88 season.

Sundstrom’s first regular season with the Devils was disappointing, scoring a career-low 15 goals. He made up for it in the playoffs, as the Devils made a surprise run to the Prince of Wales Conference Finals before losing to Boston in seven games. Sundstrom led the team in playoff scoring with seven goals and 20 points. In Game 3 of the Patrick Division Finals against Washington he set the NHL record for most points in a single playoff game with eight, scoring three goals and five assists.

The following two seasons Sundstrom recorded 20+ goals per season, but his offensive production began to decline; he played his final NHL season in 1991-92, scoring four points in 17 games. He returned to Sweden in 1992-93, playing two seasons before retiring in 1994.

In 10 NHL seasons, Sundstrom played in 679 games, scoring 219 goals and 588 points. He was also a two-time winner of the Viking Award (1984 and 1989) as the best Swedish player in the NHL. From 2005-07 Sundstrom coached Swedish national youth hockey teams, and from 2011-14 he was an assistant coach with his former club IF Bjorkloven.

YouTube clip: highlights from Sundstrom’s record-setting playoff performance.

Card 370 - Glen Wesley

A defenceman, Wesley was drafted third overall by Boston in the 1987 draft, having played three seasons with Portland in WHL, twice being named a first-team all-star.

He made his NHL debut in 1987-88 as a 19 year-old, scoring seven goals and 37 points while being named to the all-rookie team and finishing fourth in Calder Trophy voting. The Bruins made the Stanley Cup Finals that season, with Wesley leading all NHL defencemen with six post-season goals, along with 14 points. He followed up his rookie campaign by scoring a career-high 19 goals and playing in his first and only all-star game.

Over the next five seasons Wesley would eclipse the 40 point mark three times, including a career-high 58 points in 1993-94. He and the Bruins made another Cup Finals trip in 1990, again losing to Edmonton. In the summer of 1994 Wesley was traded to Hartford for three first round picks. Named assistant captain upon his arrival to the Whalers, Wesley’s offensive output may have decreased, but he played a valuable defensive role on the Whalers, and eventually the Hurricanes when the franchise relocated for the 1997-98 season.

Wesley appeared in his third Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, with the result being the same as the first two as the Hurricanes were downed by Detroit in five games. At the March 2003 trade deadline he was traded to Toronto for a second round pick. Wesley’s stay in Toronto lasted seven regular and five playoff games before he re-signed with Carolina.

Returning from the 2004-05 lockout, Wesley won his first Stanley Cup on his fourth attempt as the Hurricanes defeated Edmonton in seven games in the 2006 Finals. He played two more seasons before retiring after the 2007-08 campaign.

In 20 NHL seasons, Wesley played in 1457 games, scoring 128 goals and 537 points. Upon retiring he became the Hurricanes’ director of player development, a role he held until 2018 when he left to become a development coach with St. Louis, a role he still holds today.

YouTube clip: scoring the game winner with less than two minutes remaining against the Bruins’ rival Montreal Canadiens during a November 1989 game. The Bruins were down 2-0 with less than 10 minutes remaining and scored 3 goals in 57 seconds to win.

Card 371 - Wayne Presley

A right winger, Presley was drafted 39th overall by Chicago in 1983. Following the draft he returned to the OHL with Kitchener, scoring 63 goals and 139 points. Presley made his NHL debut with three games in the 1984-85 season, then spent the next season split between the NHL and AHL. He made the NHL full-time in the 1986-87 season, scoring 32 goals and 61 points, which both turned out to be career-highs.

After playing only 42 games in the 1987-88 season, Presley bounced back by scoring 21 regular season goals and adding seven goals and 12 points in 14 playoff games. His playoff performance included a hat trick in Game 6 versus Detroit, which clinched the Norris Division Semi-Finals series for the Hawks. 1989-90 saw another disappointing regular season (six goals in 49 games) before Presley added nine goals and 15 points in 19 playoff games.

1991-92 saw Presley traded twice, first to San Jose, where he played 47 games and scored 22 points, before a second trade to Buffalo for Dave Snuggerud. Presley played three full seasons with the Sabres, scoring 14 or more goals each season, and finishing fifth in Selke Trophy voting in 1995.

For the 1995-96 season Presley signed with the New York Rangers, playing 61 games before a late season trade to Detroit for Sergio Momesso. He wrapped up the season with the Leafs, then played the final two seasons of his pro career in the IHL with Detroit, winning a Turner Cup in 1997.

In 12 NHL seasons, Presley played in 684 games, scoring 155 goals and 302 points. In back-to-back seasons (1993-94, 1994-95) he finished second in the league in shorthanded goals. In retirement he has found a second career in the IT industry.

YouTube clip: scoring the game-tying goal in Game 4 of the 1992 Adams Division Semi-Finals for Buffalo. The Sabres would go on to lose the game in overtime and the series in seven games.

Card 372 - Craig Muni

A defenceman, Muni was drafted 25th overall by Toronto in 1980. He played two more seasons in the OHL, and played his first three NHL games with the Leafs in the 1981-82 season. Muni turned pro the following season, but would play the majority of his first four seasons in the AHL with St. Catharines, getting into 16 games with the Maple Leafs.

Muni’s career was given a lifeline in August 1986 when he signed with Edmonton as a free agent, although the start of his Oiler career was anything but normal. On October 2, 1986 he was traded to Buffalo for cash, then two days later was traded to Pittsburgh, also for cash. Less than one week after his first trade, Muni was back with the Oilers, completing a trade between the Penguins and Oilers from a year earlier.

In his first season in Edmonton Muni scored seven goals and 29 points, both career-highs. He also won his first Stanley Cup, contributing two assists in 14 games. He would develop into a consistent defensive presence on the high-octane Oilers, recording a plus/minus rating of +20 or better four times, finishing top 10 in the NHL three times and setting a career-best +50 in 1986-87. During this time Muni would win two additional Stanley Cups in 1988 and 1990.

Late in the 1992-93 season he was traded to Chicago for Mike Hudson, playing 13 games with the Blackhawks before a trade to Buffalo at the start of the 1993-94 season. Muni played parts of three seasons with the Sabres, recording 20 points in 160 games before a February 1996 trade to Winnipeg for Michal Grosek and Darryl Shannon. His final two seasons would be spent in Pittsburgh and Dallas, on one-year free agent deals.

In 16 NHL seasons Muni played in 819 games, scoring 28 goals and 147 points. He holds the record for most career playoff games played without scoring a goal at 113, just ahead of Hal Gill (111 games) and Jay Bouwmeester (75). From 1999 to 2002 Muni was an amateur scout with Tampa Bay, and in 2017 he won an Isobel Cup as head coach of the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL. He currently works in commercial property development and leasing in Buffalo.

YouTube clip: laying out the Penguins' Bryan Trottier; too bad Trottier made the play and the Penguins scored.

Card 373 - Brent Fedyk

A left winger, Fedyk was drafted eighth overall by Detroit in 1985 out of Regina in the WHL. He played two more seasons with the Pats, turning pro in 1987-88, playing mostly with Adirondack in the AHL. The following season Fedyk scored 40 goals with the junior Wings, also winning the Calder Cup. In his first three pro seasons he played in 35 games with the Red Wings, scoring three goals and eight points.

Fedyk made the NHL full-time in 1990-91, playing in 67 games, scoring 16 goals and 35 points. Prior to the start of the 1992-93 season he was traded to Philadelphia for a draft pick. Fedyk’s first two seasons as a Flyer were the best of his career as he, Eric Lindros and Mark Recchi formed the Crazy Eights line. With the two future Hall-of-Famers, Fedyk scored 20+ goals each season, adding a career-high 59 points in 1992-93.

In December 1995 he was traded to Dallas for Trent Klatt; split between the teams, Fedyk scored 20 goals for the third and final time in his career. He spent the next two seasons in the IHL, returning to the NHL in 1998-99 to play 67 games with the New York Rangers. Fedyk’s final pro season game in Germany in 1999-2000.

In 10 NHL seasons, Fedyk played in 470 games, scoring 97 goals and 209 points. He keeps busy in retirement playing charity games with the Detroit Red Wings alumni.

YouTube clip: scoring against St. Louis in the 1991 Norris Division Semi-Finals series

Card 374 - Michel Goulet

A left winger, Goulet was drafted 20th overall by Quebec in the 1979 draft. Due NHL age restrictions for the entry draft (players had to be 19 years of age minimum), Goulet started his pro career in the WHA with Birmingham at age 18.

Goulet migrated to the NHL for the 1979-80 season when he turned 19, scoring 22 goals and 54 points in his rookie season with the Nordiques. He increased his goal totals to 32 and 42 over the next two seasons, leading the league in shorthanded goals with six in 1981-82. Goulet scored a career-high 57 goals the following season, and was named a second team all-star. He developed into one of the NHL’s best scorers over the next five seasons, scoring 50+ goals and 100+ points three times, including a career-high 122 in 1983-84. Goulet was named an all-star four times (three first team and one second team) during his peak.

In the 1985 playoffs the Nordiques made the Prince of Wales Conference Finals, with Goulet scoring 11 goals and 21 points, leading the playoffs with seven power play goals. The Nords would eventually lose to the Flyers in six games, their last relative playoff success in franchise history.

Following a down season and a half, Goulet was traded to Chicago with Greg Millen for three players and a draft pick. In the three seasons from 1990 to 1993 he scored 20+ goals each season, and played in his first Cup Finals in 1992, with the Hawks getting swept by Pittsburgh. 1993-94 would be Goulet’s final season, playing 56 games and scoring 30 points before suffering a career-ending concussion in what would be his last game.

In 15 NHL seasons Goulet played in 1089 games, scoring 548 goals (30th all-time) and 1153 points. He played in five all-star games and ranks 29th all-time in power play goals with 179. The Nordiques retired Goulet’s #16 in 1995 and three years later he was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. From 1995 to 2009 he was the director of player personnel for Colorado, where he won two Stanley Cups. In 2010 he was an assistant general manager for Canada’s World Cup entry, and then worked in scouting with Calgary (2010 to 2016) and Anaheim (2017 to 2019).

YouTube clip: career highlights video, featuring plenty of Quebec Nordiques nostalgia.

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