Stanley Cup Playoffs’ Conn Smythe Favorites Entering Round 2
By Colin Likas
The Chicago Blackhawks not being in the postseason as we start the conference semifinals doesn’t mean Blackhawk Up will be ignoring the Stanley Cup Playoffs from here on out
What to do as a hockey fan with the Chicago Blackhawks out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Well, there’s always the rest of the postseason.
The conference semifinals begin tonight with the Western Conference matchups. Nashville and St. Louis kick off at 7 p.m., while Edmonton and Anaheim drop the puck at 9:30 p.m. Both games can be seen on NBC Sports Network.
Though the Blackhawks aren’t still fighting for the Stanley Cup this year, there are still plenty of fun matchups to watch — chief among them Pittsburgh vs. Washington. I’d encourage all hockey fans to tune in and soak up the hockey before it goes away until October.
With another stage of the postseason set to begin, though, we at Blackhawk Up are going to take a look at the revised Conn Smythe Trophy favorites. Only eight teams have players still eligible for this honor, down from the original 16, so it dwindles the field significantly.
Blackhawk Up’s Conn Smythe odds
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby — 10:1
Washington’s Alex Ovechkin — 10:1
Washington’s Braden Holtby — 12:1
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin — 12:1
Edmonton’s Connor McDavid — 15:1
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf — 18:1
Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel — 18:1
Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom — 18:1
New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist — 20:1
Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson — 20:1
St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko — 25:1
Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan — 30:1
St. Louis’ Jake Allen — 30:1
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury — 30:1
Nashville’s P.K. Subban — 30:1
Nashville’s Filip Forsberg — 40:1
New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello — 40:1
Ottawa’s Craig Anderson — 40:1
Anaheim’s Corey Perry — 40:1
New York Rangers’ Rick Nash — 50:1
Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler — 50:1
Nashville’s Pekka Rinne — 50:1
Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson — 60:1
St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz — 60:1
Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl — 60:1
New York Rangers’ Derek Stepan — 75:1
Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel — 75:1
Washington’s T.J. Oshie — 75:1
Edmonton’s Cam Talbot — 75:1
Anaheim’s John Gibson — 75:1
St. Louis’ Alexander Steen — 75:1
Edmonton’s Oscar Klefbom — 100:1
Nashville’s Ryan Ellis — 100:1
Ottawa’s Derick Brassard — 100:1
Washington’s Marcus Johansson — 125:1
Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman — 125:1
Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust — 125:1
Washington’s Justin Williams — 125:1
St. Louis’ Ryan Reaves — 1.9 million:1
Explanation for the picks
Generally, you start your Conn Smythe hunts off with names everyone knows. So even though neither Crosby nor Ovechkin are leading their respective teams in points this postseason, you have to like the chances one of them puts up an MVP-worthy performance.
Naturally, the two have to go through one another in the second round to come close to that after four rounds.
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Holtby is the top goaltender remaining as far as recent success goes (though it’s mostly all of the regular-season variety). Malkin is tearing up the postseason right now with 11 points, and he doesn’t play too much of a name-recognition second fiddle to teammate Crosby.
With the West being so wide open, I think putting McDavid on top of the Conn Smythe race on that side seems fair. Anaheim has a big three as far as big-name stars, St. Louis has Tarasenko and Nashville … has a strong team effort, as the Blackhawks saw in the first round. So McDavid leads the West odds.
After that, you’ve got a mix of familiar names, somewhat based on their first-round exploits, but more so based on what they could be capable of doing later in the postseason.
You might notice Ottawa, Nashville, New York, St. Louis and Anaheim don’t have a whole lot going for them as far as entries and their odds. I feel those teams rely more on team efforts, and have done so thus far in the postseason.
Sure, there are recognizable players. But the Rangers have Lundqvist and Nash, the Blues have Tarasenko, Anaheim has the big three, the Sens have Karlsson and the Preds … yeah.
It’s hard to realize how important name recognition tends to be in the Conn Smythe race. Remember in 2013, when Corey Crawford probably should’ve won the Conn Smythe in a walk? It went to Patrick Kane instead. When you think of the award being won both on performance and name-brand merits, it’s a little easier to swallow.
I tried to sneak a few surprises in further down the list. Arvidsson burned the Blackhawks at several turns and could do it to other teams. Draisaitl is a cool No. 2 to McDavid in Edmonton. Guentzel is having a great postseason in Pittsburgh, as are Klefbom in Edmonton, Brassard in Ottawa and Johansson in Washington.
If Reaves wins the Conn Smythe, I will eat a piece of paper, film myself doing it and post it on this website. Just saying that now.
Next: Summer Playlist For Bowman, Blackhawks Fans
So who do you guys think is the Conn Smythe favorite heading into the second round? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below.