The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the playoffs' Most Valuable Player, and, in my opinion, it’s really going to be a four-man race for the award. It's hard not to think that the winner will be a King, but that could all change if the Devils win the title.
But before we start hashing out who’s going to win it,
it’s important to remember that it’s most often awarded to a player on the
winning team and since no one player has completely outshined everyone else to
the point that they’d win it regardless, one would have to think that the trend
will continue: the MVP will come from the winning team.
Most people see the Los Angeles Kings as the team to beat
and I would agree with that. If they’re the team that’s going to win the
Stanley Cup, it’s really down to two players on their side: goaltender Jonathan
Quick and forward Dustin Brown.
Quick has been phenomenal these playoffs, winning 12 of
14 contests while posting a 1.54 GAA and a .946 save percentage. That’s about
as incredible as it gets. The Kings would have to win the Cup, though. If his
sparkling 12-2 record turns to something like 14-6, it’s going to be hard to
make a case for him.
Meanwhile, Brown has arguably been the Kings MVP this
postseason as he’s been the firestarter in every series. He scored key
shorthanded goals against Vancouver, threw some big hits against St. Louis and
led the way against Phoenix. He’s currently third in postseason scoring with 16
points – just two points back of Ilya Kovalchuk – but keep in mind that
Kovalchuk has played four more games. Brown also leads all postseason players
with a +13. One more series like that and the Kings captain might steal the
award from his teammate.
For the Devils, it’s really all about Martin Brodeur.
Sure, Ilya Kovalchuk could get his name in the mix if he has a huge series but
if we’re going to be realistic, nobody is going to embarrass Quick the way he’s
playing, and this series should be in the 3-2 or 4-2 neighborhood for scores
each game. That means Kovalchuk will have to average at least a point per game
to get into the conversation.
But the problem for him is that it’s hard to see the
Devils winning that type of a series against the Kings. The most plausible path
to victory for New Jersey somehow must involve Martin Brodeur standing on his
head and if that’s the case, he’s going to take home the Conn Smythe trophy.
There’s also the sentimental element here that Brodeur
has never won the Conn Smythe. Kovalchuk will have to be the clear reason that
the Devils win the series; in any other scenario where they win, Brodeur will
be the Conn Smythe trophy winner.
Here’s a look at the odds:
2012 Stanley Cup
Playoffs – Who will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP?
Jonathan Quick (LA) 6/5
Dustin Brown (LA) 4/1
Martin Brodeur (NJ) 4/1
Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ) 11/2
Anze Kopitar (LA) 10/1
Drew Doughty (LA) 12/1
Zach Parise (NJ) 10/1
Mike Richards (LA) 25/1
Travis Zajac (NJ) 25/1
Dustin Penner (LA) 50/1
David Clarkson (NJ) 30/1
With the odds as they are, I’ll take a flier on both
Quick and Brodeur with small, even amounts and if one of them wins, I’ll be
Pick: Quick +120 and Brodeur +400