As the NHL playoffs play on, it’s still too early to say that one player is the odds on favorite to win the 2017 Conn Smythe Trophy, better known as the MVP of the playoffs. If you ask me that’s a good thing, it means that several players have elevated their games in this hockey postseason. Here’s a look at the leading contenders.
2017 Conn Smythe Trophy Favorites
This unlikely entry has eight goals, including a four-goal game in the second round of the playoffs. In addition, Pageau has the assignment of shutting down opposing offensive players. The Senators actually named a sandwich after him at their home arena – the Pageau Parm.
Somehow, this veteran superstar has been able to turn back the clock and dominate like he did 10 years ago when he won the cup. Maybe it’s a matter of being healthier, maybe other Anaheim Ducks lines are scoring more to take the pressure off of him. Whatever the case, he’s been nearly unstoppable.
There isn’t much that Geno hasn’t accomplish in his career, but Malkin sure is having a heck of a postseason, including the conference final Game 2 assist on the game-winning goal. Malkin turns it on at will and when he does he takes over a game. Sure, he is quiet for stretches, but the overall body of work speaks for itself.
The spectacular plays are always there with this guy. But this postseason the mistakes have been fewer as a member of the Nashville Predators. PK has won games for his team and he’s also been a force on the power play. The NHL needs excitement for the fans and Subban has it in abundance.
With another shutout in Game 2 versus Ottawa, Fleury is at the top of his game right now, guiding the Pens to within seven wins of hoisting another Stanley Cup. He was much maligned coming into the playoffs due to recent postseason stumbles. But those are clearly in the rear view mirror right now.
The Predators just don’t give up many goals and Rinne is a major part of it. He had a so-so regular season but somehow flipped a switch before the NHL playoffs and he’s been downright legendary in the postseason so far. He’d be higher on this list had he not ducked on the game-winning Game 2 goal by Nick Richie of the Ducks.
Where would Ottawa be without its captain? There’s nothing he isn’t doing well right now on the ice. All this, despite playing with a severe foot injury. If the Sens make the Stanley Cup final and Karlsson piles up some more points, he could shoot all the way to number one on this list.
Matthew Ross is a sports commentator and a radio host on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Follow him @MatthewWords.