We’re early on in the Stanley Cup Final. But it’s not too early to start thinking about the 2017 NHL playoff MVP, or as the NHL refers to it – Conn Smythe Trophy Winner. There are a few candidates.
2017 NHL Playoff MVP Candidates
Evgeni Malkin, Penguins
He leads the NHL playoffs in points and has been a steady offensive producer. His best series came in the first round versus Columbus, where he picked up 11 points in only five games. It’s not like he’s been bad the rest of the playoffs, but voters might think that he tailed off following that incredible performance.
Pekka Rinne, Predators
If the Predators pull of this upset win in the final folks will point to the goaltender that defeated every comer with grace, consistency and at times dominance. I still can’t get over how he was average during the year, but amazing in the playoffs. How does that happen?
Sidney Crosby, Penguins
Despite some injuries and missed time, Crosby has been very good in the playoffs. Sure, he hasn’t dominated consistently, but he’s been very good. A very good Crosby is better than almost everyone in the world. PS. He won it last year.
PK Subban, Predators
The flair, the desperate desire to be a decision-maker in crunch time, the fan favorite aspect. Subban has stood out on a defense corps that features some of the best blue liners in the world, no small feat.
Filip Forsberg, Predators
This elite talent has scored some big goals for his team. That said, he’ll have to be a difference-maker if Nashville wants to win the cup. But if he does step up in this series, he’ll be on the fast track to playoff MVP.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins
I know, he’s not even playing right now. I get it. But Fleury had basically one bad game all postseason and was yanked for Matt Murray, who has also played well. That said, Fleury is obviously one injury or Murray bad performance away from being right back in there. And if that’s the case he could steal or a game or two – and the Conn Smythe trophy!
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.