Even though the fellas over at TSN have been debating this topic for more than 2 months, at this point in the Stanley Cup Finals it’s actually appropriate to start to consider who should be the recipient of this years Conn Smythe Award for most valuable playoff performance. Given the 3-0 lead LA currently holds over the Rangers, it’s safe to say that this year’s winner will come from the Kings, so I’ve narrowed it down to 4 players who’ve all been instrumental to the Kings playoff success.
1. Jonathan Quick
The 2012 Conn Smythe winner has been incredible once again in 2014. His unbelievable flexibility and athleticism combined with sounds goaltending fundamentals create a seemingly impenetrable fortress, and as both Derick Brassard and Mats Succarello found out last night, there’s no such thing as a wide open cage when Quick is in goal.
2. Anze Kopitar
Jonathon Toews, Ryan Kessler and Pavel Datsyuk are typically the first to come to mind when you’re asked about defensive forwards who can light the lamp, but after this year’s final, Mr. Kopitar should be at the top of the list. Already up for the Selke Award for best defensive forward, Kopitar has been pivotal in shutting down the opposing teams top line while still contributing to the score sheet. In game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, he was on the ice for 100% of the time that Rick Nash was, and help the Rangers to 0(zero) shots against for the entire game. He also happens to have the 2nd most playoff points by an LA King with 26. (just 14 behind the Great One)
3. Justin Williams
Some say his beard is too pointy, many said his career was over and he’d out lived his usefulness, but when the season is on the line, Justin Williams has been the definition of “clutch” for his entire career. Now running with the nickname “Mr. Game 7” Williams has apparently decided that every game for the rest of the season is a game 7 as he has been truly outstanding for the entire finals changing his Conn Smythe nickname from dark horse to shoe in.
4. Jeff Carter
A prolific goal scorer for his entire career, the 2014 playoffs is where Jeff Carter finally cemented his mark as a truly elite NHL goal scorer and not a truly elite NHL lady killer. Paired up with relative no namers Tanner Pearson (70) and Tyler Toffoli (73), the “70’s Line” (due to all of their numbers being in the 70’s, not because they were born in the 70’s) has arguably been the Kings most dominant line for the entire playoffs, no doubt thanks to Carter (77) and point per game performance.
We’ll give an honorable mention to coach Brent Sutter, who can’t win the award but probably should.
You pick’em and we’ll see how close we were.
Canadian Hockey Enterprises