Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL Playoffs 2012 [Print without images]

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Updated: May 12, 1:01 PM ET
Just who are these guys, anyway?

By Pierre LeBrun
ESPN.com

PHOENIX COYOTES



G Mike Smith: Is there a better story in the NHL this season? Leading candidate, in my mind, for Conn Smythe Trophy.



D Keith Yandle: Fluid blueliner keys transition game and leads team with seven assists.



D Rostislav Klesla: Survived scary eye injury in first round and puck to the face in second round. One tough dude.



D Oliver Ekman-Larsson: This young offensive blueliner is going to be a major star. Smooth as silk, leads team in ice time at 26:04 per game.



D Derek Morris: Old-school defender who doesn't mind crunching an opposing forward.



D Michal Rozsival: The former Ranger is Steady Eddie on the blue line, poised under pressure. Second on team in ice time at 22:30.



D Adrian Aucoin: The old goat has slowed down a little but still has the hockey smarts to make the right play.



F Antoine Vermette: Trade-deadline pickup leads team with nine points (5-4) and is a reliable two-way center.



F Mikkel Boedker: The kid has really come on in the playoffs with seven points (3-4); his speed backs up defenders.



F Shane Doan: The veteran captain had a better second round. Still a physical force with the knack for clutch goals. And a brilliant leader.



F Ray Whitney: The Wizard is aging like fine wine, seemingly has eyes everywhere as he makes plays.



F Martin Hanzal: The team's No. 1 center is a horse, a 200-foot force.



F Daymond Langkow: The veteran center has lost a step but he has his coach's trust to make smart decisions.



F Taylor Pyatt: When he's using his size to his advantage, he can be an effective power winger.



F Radim Vrbata: A key first-line winger in the regular season but has produced only two goals in playoffs.



F Kyle Chipchura. Former first-round pick of the Habs has found a home in Phoenix as a rugged, smart checker who is willing to drop the gloves.

LOS ANGELES KINGS



G Jonathan Quick: A Vezina Trophy nominee for his sensational regular season and a Conn Smythe candidate through two rounds with an eye-popping .949 save percentage.



D Drew Doughty: Making up for a slow start to the season with a stellar playoff. The stud on the Kings' blue line, a high-end offensive threat and smart defender.



D Willie Mitchell: The former Canucks blueliner is playing some of the best hockey of his career, a shutdown veteran who provides physical punch.



D Rob Scuderi: A Cup champion with Pittsburgh in 2009, the veteran rearguard doesn't get much praise but he's a rock, a man's man on the Kings' blue line.



D Matt Greene: Playing some terrific physical, shutdown hockey.



D Slava Voynov: The slick puck-mover is the reason the Kings felt they could trade Jack Johnson.



D Alec Martinez: Kind of the forgotten man on the Kings' blue line but a sneaky-good offensive player with solid defensive smarts.



F Dustin Brown: The Kings' captain is on fire, playing inspirational hockey, delivering huge hits while scoring clutch goals. He's bringing it and leads team in scoring with 11 points (6-5).

F Anze Kopitar: The team's No. 1 center is second on the team with 10 points (3-7) and never gets enough credit for his Selke-worthy defensive play.



F Mike Richards: Perfectly placed as a No. 2 center and playing for the coach who fits him nicely, the former Flyers captain is playing some of the best two-way hockey of his career.

F Justin Williams: The veteran winger is a smart player who has a knack for big plays when the team needs it.



F Dustin Penner: Pancake Penner no more. The once-forgotten winger has rediscovered himself in these playoffs and is playing an effective physical game while chipping in offensively on the second line.



F Jeff Carter: Effective at times, but overall Kings need more than just one goal from him in these playoffs.



F Jarret Stoll: The veteran center is a super-smart player who anticipates plays and helps the team at both ends of the ice.



F Trevor Lewis: Effective checker and penalty killer.



F Jordan Nolan: Rookie call-up has been a physical spark on the fourth line.