In Feb of 2010, I bought a lot of 4 UD Ice hot packs. I remember be very disappointed in the results and if you check out the link you could see why.
15 months later, I am beginning to feel some excitement towards one of those cards. As of today, the leading goal scorer in these playoffs is Joel Ward. After finishing the season with 10 goals (good enough for 253rd in the NHL), Joel is leading the way in the playoffs with 7 goals in just 11 games and is the main reason the Preds are still in their series with Vancouver.
What makes this feat that much more enjoyable, Joel Ward was never drafted and signed as a free agent after tearing up the CIS as a member of the UPEI Panthers (Canada's version of NCAA). There seems to be a growing trend of players making the NHL after playing university hockey in Canada. I have been watching university hockey for years and I have seen some great players come and go and I am very happy to see Ward experience success.
Does this success mean Ward is going to score 50 goals next season? Definitely not. John Druce is the classic example. Back in the 1990 playoffs, Druce lead the Washington Capitals in goals with 14 which is nearly double the 8 goals he scored in 45 regular season games. After 14 goals in 15 playoff games, Druce would fall back to earth and only break 20 goals in a season once. In a playoff atmosphere playing the same team up to 7 times I think that it much easier to maintain a "hot streak" than it is over the course of an 82 game season. There are highs and lows that set in and I think players that often get really hot come playoff time are usually the unsung heroes and the players that can go unnoticed during the regular season.
If Nashville makes it to the next round, I think Ward has as much to do with it as Pekka Rinne does. I also think that next season realistically we can expect Ward to return to a 15-20 goal player but, I would especially love to see him turn into a Johan Franzen rather than a John Druce.