The Stanley Cup Finals between the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins start Monday and there’s a lot of talk about who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. There are many candidates from each team and so many skilled players on the ice so who will lead their team to victory and bring home the Conn Smythe Trophy?
Conn Smythe Trophy Candidates
1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Tuukka Rask has been lights out for the Bruins in these playoffs. Over the course of his career he has been a great playoff performer and he finds himself in the Stanley Cup Finals. Rask is 12-5 with a .942 save percentage and a 1.84 goals against average in this year’s playoffs. He ranks first in save percentage and first in goals against among all goaltenders through the Conference Finals. What he is doing is statistically one of the best all-time playoff performances by a goaltender in league history. If he isn’t the reason the Bruins win the cup, he will be one of the biggest why.
2. Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues
How does a rookie end up in the Conn Smythe conversation? Well if anyone performed like Jordan Binnington has been for the Blues then they would be on this list too. He has carried his stellar play from the regular season to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. His numbers might be down a little because of a couple of games that got out of hand but he has shown up when the team needed it and gave this team a chance. He is 12-7 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average. The team has let some games get away that wasn’t all his fault but other than that he has been outstanding.
In game 7 of the second round against the Dallas Stars, he had to battle Stars goaltender Ben Bishop. He made 29 saves on 30 shots and stopped Jamie Benn on a wraparound attempt. After the infamous hand pass wasn’t called on the ice in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Finals, he has been absolutely phenomenal. He only allowed one goal the rest of the series and made big saves when they needed it. His play will certainly be pointed to if they win the cup.
3. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Like him or not he is a really good hockey player. Marchand has carried his 100-point regular season over to the playoffs. He has seven goals and eighteen points through seventeen playoff games. Also, he has been working his butt off on the ice for the Bruins on both the power play and penalty kill a lot as he has an average ice time of 20:36. The Bruins have been leaning on Brad Marchand throughout the playoffs. He has been a good offensive contributor all year. If his teammate Tuukka Rask doesn’t win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Bruins, the runner up on the team could very well be Marchand.
4. Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues
After only scoring 11 goals in the regular season, he already has 12 goals in the playoffs including two hat-tricks. He has been leading the Blues offensive throughout the playoffs. He has timely goals throughout whether it’s scoring the all-important first goal, a game-tying goal, or a game-winning goal. The most notable one was in the first round. With about 15 seconds left in the third period of game five against the Winnipeg Jets, Schwartz re-directed the puck into the net as the Blues took a 3-2 series lead. His speed and effort have really contributed to finally becoming the Jaden Schwartz they have been looking for. One more goal and he will surpass the great Bret Hull for the most playoff goals in franchise history which is 13. He has really been the heart and soul of this team and without him, who knows if they win some of the games they did. They need him to continue this in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Stanley Cup Finals between the Blues and Bruins has already gotten underway, with game 2 set for May 29th at 8 pm EST. These two teams look very similar and the amount of talent is great on both sides. Every Conn Smythe winner has earned it and it will be no different this time around. This rest of this series has the potential to be a long and grueling one.
Embed from Getty Images