Of all New Jersey’s surprise success stories in the playoffs, Bryce Salvador’s scoring prowess probably ranks as the least expected.
Salvador’s game-winning goal on Saturday night was his 14th point of the playoffs, tying Drew Doughty for the lead among NHL defensemen. Adam Kimmelman points out how rare game-winners have been for Salvador; apparently, it was his first GWG since Jan. 2010 and his second career playoff game-winner.
(His other one came on April 19 … 2001).
Salvador wasn’t coy about how unusual scoring has been for him, either.
“I went 82 games without scoring, so I’ll take any goal I can get,” he said.
Scoring this often in the playoffs is rare enough for the Devils defenseman, but he isn’t far from matching career highs for a season’s worth of work. His two best career outputs were 16 points (in 76 games in 2008-09) and 14 in 79 games in 2009-10.
Apparently Salvador’s Fernando-Pisani-of-defensemen act is so unusual that it actually broke a record. His 14 points is the highest postseason point total ever for a player who produced 10 points or less in a regular season with at least 70 games played.
(Salvador failed to score a goal and had nine assists in 82 games during this regular season).
Salvador’s career stats are likely to be blissfully ignored by some NHL general manager during the off-season. The 36-year-old defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so this postseason output isn’t just record-breaking and unlikely.
It’s also probably going to be very lucrative.