Who are the best Conn Smythe candidates entering the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Each postseason, the Conn Smythe Trophy goes to the player deemed to be most valuable to his team during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last year, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins won the award. This year, entering the second round, it’s a wide open race.
There have been some phenomenal performances in the playoffs so far this year. Goalies are carrying their team to victory. Certain defensemen are taking over games, much like 2015 winner Duncan Keith did for the Chicago Blackhawks. There are also centers showing why they’re among the best in the world.
Before the list begins, there’s a very long list of also-rans. The Ottawa Senators have a trio of strong candidates in Bobby Ryan, Craig Anderson and Derrick Brassard. T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams of the Washington Capitals could wind up winning it, and don’t sleep on Nicklas Backstrom either. Jake Guentzel, Cam Talbot, Connor McDavid, Ryan Johansen and Jake Allen are just a few of them. Here’s the list of the top five Conn Smythe candidates entering the second round.
Why he could win: So far, he’s been the Predators best player and it’s not even close. Sure, beating the Chicago Blackhawks took a team effort. But entering the second round, no starting goalie has a better save percentage than Rinne. Johansen and Forsberg have been outstanding and Viktor Arvidsson is a nice dark horse candidate. The Predators do a great job of limiting scoring chances, so it’s not outrageous to think his numbers are somewhat sustainable.
Why he couldn’t win: There’s very little reason to believe Rinne is capable of maintaining a save percentage of over .970. His career postseason save percentage is a mere .917 over his career. Don’t be surprised if he bottoms out. But if Rinne stays hot, he could shoot up this list.