The 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs have nearly reached the Stanley Cup Final. Accordingly, players are establishing themselves as candidates to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player.
There are several candidates to win MVP as round three winds down and the championship series looms. The Florida Panthers have already punched their ticket to the Cup Final, while the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights are still competing for the Western Conference crown.
To choose the five players most deserving of the NHL’s postseason MVP award, 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.
Here are the top five players in the race for the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy through six weeks of playoff hockey.
Who are the leaders in the race for the NHL’s Conn Smythe Trophy?
Adin Hill (VGK) – The goaltender for the Vegas Golden Knights has been excellent since being called upon in round two. His .932 save percentage is the second-best mark by a goalie in the playoffs, and he has been superb in the Western Conference Final.
5. Roope Hintz, Dallas Stars (Previous Rank: 4)
No player has more points than Roope Hintz in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Dallas Stars forward has 10 goals and an NHL-leading 14 assists in 18 games.
While Hintz has five points in five Western Conference Final games, he has been held off the scoresheet three times in the series. There is plenty of room for improvement if Hintz and the Stars want to reach the Cup Final.
4. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights (NR)
In 16 games this postseason, Jonathan Marchessault has contributed 16 points (eight goals and eight assists), the second-most by any Vegas skater. The 32-year-old has been especially good in the West Final with six points in five games, including two multi-point performances.
Marchessault has scored three game-winning goals this spring and has been one of the more clutch players in the NHL since the playoffs began. There have been a lot of Golden Knights chipping in for their team, but Marchessault has been one of the most impactful.
3. Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights (3)
The only Golden Knights skater with more points than Marchessault is Jack Eichel. His 18 points (six goals and 12 assists) are tied for the fourth-most among all NHL skaters in the playoffs.
Eichel’s four assists in the series against the Stars may not be all that flashy, but he has consistently been an offensive producer in the playoffs. As a result, he and the Golden Knights are one win away from the Final.
2. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers (2)
An overtime goal in Game 1, an overtime goal in Game 2, and a series-clinching goal with four seconds left in Game 4 is all Matthew Tkachuk accomplished in the Eastern Conference Final. No big deal.
The Panthers star leads his squad with 21 points through three rounds, which ranks second in the NHL this spring. He was Florida’s leader in the regular season, and he has stepped up every time the Cats have needed him in these playoffs.
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers (1)
Tkachuk would be a shoo-in for the top spot with as well as he’s played if not for the brilliance of Sergei Bobrovsky. His .935 save percentage is the best number among all postseason participants, and his 2.21 goals against average is the best output by a goalie still in the playoffs.
In the Eastern Conference Final, Bobrovsky’s lowest save percentage in any game was .923, he had one shutout, and he made 63 saves in the 4OT Game 1 showdown. Florida’s first East title since 1996 would not have been possible without his heroics.