The second round of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs is nearly complete. Accordingly, it’s a great time to start looking at candidates to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player.
There are several candidates as we near the midway point, but they can’t all fit into the top five, which is what you’ll see here.
To choose just five, I’ll be considering where a player’s team stands in its series, how players compare to their opponents, and what other players on a candidate’s team have contributed.
This week’s list looks drastically different than last week’s list, but that’s what happens as teams are eliminated and we get deeper into the postseason. Through four weeks, this is the top five in the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy power rankings.
Who are the leaders in the race for the NHL’s Conn Smythe Trophy?
Jordan Martinook (CAR) – While he didn’t produce much in the first round of the playoffs, Martinook was outstanding in round two. He scored all 10 of his points in the five-game series against the New Jersey Devils to help his team advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Roope Hintz (DAL) – The star forward for Dallas had been at number one on this list at one point, and he hasn’t been bad since that time, but he hasn’t been quite as impactful against the Seattle Kraken. One of his teammates is in the top five, but Hintz still deserves a mention.
Jonathan Marchessault (VGK) – One of the original Vegas Golden Knights, Marchessault hadn’t done much offensively, but in Game 5 and Game 6 against the Edmonton Oilers, he notched six points to help his team advance.
5. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers (Previous Rank: 3)
Matthew Tkachuk was a huge part of Florida’s first-round upset of the Boston Bruins. In round two, the first-year Panther still managed a point per game, but he had only two points in the final four games of the series.
With 16 total points, Tkachuk is still having a fantastic postseason, but with a little less production against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he is no longer the top Conn Smythe Trophy contender on Florida’s roster.
4. Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars (NR)
An injury kept Joe Pavelski out of most of round one, but he returned for Game 1 of the second round, and his presence has been felt in every game since.
The 38-year-old has nine points through six games against the Kraken, including an astounding eight goals. He scored four goals in a losing effort to begin the series, but he has not taken his foot off the gas and is a big reason that his team is one win away from the Western Conference Final.
3. Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights (NR)
In the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jack Eichel has put together three three-point games and 14 points in total. In the Golden Knights’ four victories against the Edmonton Oilers, Eichel contributed nine points.
This spring, he leads (or is tied for the lead) Vegas with six goals, eight assists, and 14 points. Thanks to his big games in round two, the Golden Knights have clinched a spot in the Western Conference Final
2. Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes (NR)
Frederik Andersen returned just in time to finish off the New York Islanders in round one, and in round two, he helped the Canes put away the New Jersey Devils in five games.
Outside of being pulled in Game 3, Andersen posted a save percentage of .931 or better in every game, allowing a combined five goals in Carolina’s four wins. In total, he owns a 1.80 goals against average (GAA) and a .931 save percentage this spring.
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers (NR)
Sergei Bobrovsky was an honorable mention last week, but all he has done since is take over the Florida Panthers’ second-round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He gave up two goals in each of the five games in round two, posting a save percentage of .944 or better in three games.
Overall, Bob is 7-2 in these playoffs. He owns a 2.82 GAA and a .918 save percentage. I certainly didn’t expect to have Bobrovsky on my list, much less in the top spot, coming into the playoffs, but the Cats are heading to the Eastern Conference Final thanks to his great play.