2015 Conn Smythe Front Runners
The Conn Smythe Trophy is given to the Most Valuable Player to their team at the end of the playoffs each year, before the Stanley Cup is presented. While the award isn't necessarily given to a player on the winning team, players who are a part of teams that make a deeper playoff push usually get better looks.
The winner is chosen by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, and was first handed out in 1964 to the late Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens. Other notable winners of the trophy include Glenn Hall, Bobby Orr, Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy. The most recent winner was Justin Williams, of the L.A. Kings.
As this year's Stanley Cup Final comes to a close, people are already talking about who they think will take home the the MVP award, but here are my top 3 picks:
Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers
Despite the Rangers falling to Tampa Bay in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, Henrik Lundqvist is a big reason why the Rangers even got that far in the first place.
Probably the best goalie in the NHL today, King Henrik still does not have a Stanley Cup under his belt, but thanks to his efforts, he and his team have had a good playoff run the past two years. But why does a player on a team that was knocked out in the conference final deserve the Playoff MVP trophy?
While offensive power was lacking all post season, the Rangers could rest easy knowing that Lundqvist was between the pipes. He would win 11 of 19 games this post season, and posting a 2.11 GAA and a .928 save percentage. His numbers, and success, with the Rangers show why he was the best goalie in the 2015 playoffs.
Surely without The King, none of this would have been possible for the Rangers, which is why Henrik Lundqvist has my nomination for the 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy.
Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
If I told you a Tampa Bay Lightning player was leading the league in points, I bet you would instantly think of Steven Stamkos. Well... you'd be wrong.
Tyler Johnson has gone from undrafted to unstoppable. Winged by Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson has some pretty impressive numbers in offensive categories- most goals (12), most points (21), most GWG (4), and is even tied for the most short-handed goals. No one else on his team can touch him. Not even Steven Stamkos, who has a scoring title under his belt.
After a pretty average regular season, the Bolts have relied heavily on the offensive onslaught of the 'triplets' line, lead by Tyler Johnson, and will need to continue to see results from them as they get ready to face off against the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
Continued performance by this individual and he would be a no brainer for the Conn Smythe Trophy
Duncan Keith, D, Chicago Blackhawks
The Workhorse of the West. The Marathon Man. Mr. Iron Lung. Duncan Keith. This man knows that it's offense that wins games, but it's defense that wins championships. And he's out to prove it.
While Chicago's superstars are getting it done for the offense, Duncan Keith is putting his team on his back defensively. Through 17 games this post season, Keith leads the NHL by averaging 31:35 minutes of ice time per game, seeing almost 40 shifts a game. That's 5 minutes more than defensive partner, Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Keith sports a league best +13 plus-minus, and an SAT of 89. And with Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim out of the picture, he even leads the post season in assists, further proving that he is the total package for his team.
As a two time Norris Trophy and Stanley Cup winner, Duncan Keith knows exactly what it takes to achieve greatness. And doesn't look like he will be slowing down any time soon, as he and his team get ready to play for the Stanley Cup for the 3rd time in 6 years against fellow Conn Smythe hopeful Tyler Johnson, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Other Notable MVP Candidates
- Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks
- Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
- Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames
- Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
- Johnathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
- Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks
- Barden Holtby, Washington Capitals
2015 Conn Smythe Winner
Which player is most likely to win the 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy?
© 2015 David Riddle