When arguably neither Steven Stamkos nor Nikita Kucherov is the best forward on a given team, you know that the other guy must be pretty special. Case in (Brayden) Point.
The Lightning’s 2014 3rd round pick (!) delivered a historically good postseason run for the team this Fall, generating 33 points in 23 games. He was able to do that despite being forced to contend with what often looked like a debilitating lower-body injury, and while facing the top opposing defenders night after night. There’s a reason that he was a favorite for the Conn Smythe trophy during most of the playoffs.
Those tangible contributions were complemented by consistently sound play, even on the rare occasions when the puck wasn’t cooperating for him. Per Natural Stat Trick, his five-on-five shot attempt and expected goal shares sat north of 60% for the postseason. The opposition simply didn’t have answers for his speed, for his creativity, or for his ability to team up with Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. Together, they formed an unstoppable trio.
Beyond the numbers, it’s worth considering that, without Point’s heroics, this 2020 postseason run could have looked very different. When it took five overtimes to get past the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game One of Round One, Point was the guy who ended it. It’s easy to envision a situation in which the Lightning lose that game and let the demons from 2019 lead them to another early exit. Point’s heroics prevented that from being a possible reality.
Again, we’re dealing with a player who did everything that could have been asked of him and more. Grading him is easy.