The 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs have 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 the Final continues. The Vegas Golden Knights took Game 1 from the Florida Panthers, and Game 2 is set for Monday night with new heroes due to emerge in each contest.
Here are the top five players in the race for the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy.
Who are the leaders in the race for the Conn Smythe Trophy in the NHL?
5. Adin Hill, Vegas Golden Knights (Previous Rank: NR)
Vegas goaltender Adin Hill, once the backup for the Golden Knights in these playoffs, was tasked with taking over for the injured Laurent Brossoit in round two. Since then, he has been nothing shy of fantastic.
In 12 games, Hill has eight wins (third-most among goalies in the playoffs), a 2.06 goals against average (third), and a .938 save percentage (first). He has done everything Vegas could ask for and more, and his name should be brought up with everyone else on this list as a result.
4. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights (4)
Things started slowly this postseason for Jonathan Marchessault, but he has turned it on and is producing like crazy for the Golden Knights. The 32-year-old is tied for fifth in points in the playoffs (18) and tied for second in goals (10).
Marchessault is the second-leading scorer on the Vegas roster and has 16 points in his last 11 games. One of the original Golden Misfits, Marchessault has done his part to ensure his squad’s return to the Stanley Cup Final in 2023.
3. Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights (3)
The only Golden Knights skater with more points than Marchessault is Jack Eichel. He has 20 points, which ties him for third among skaters this spring. His 14 assists are tied for the league lead.
In his last five outings, Eichel has five points, including two in Game 1 of the Cup Final against Florida. His plus-11 rating is further evidence of his overall effectiveness. This is Eichel’s first postseason, and he has surely made the most of it.
2. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers (2)
Matthew Tkachuk was one of two heroes for the Panthers in their sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final. With 21 points, he ranks second in the NHL in scoring in the playoffs.
Perhaps no player has been more clutch than Tkachuk so far this postseason. If the Cats do end up winning the Stanley Cup, he will undoubtedly be in contention for the MVP award as a result.
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 .931 save percentage is the second-best number among all postseason participants, and his 2.32 goals against average is fourth.
In the Eastern Conference Final, Bobrovsky’s lowest save percentage in any game was .923, plus he made 63 saves in the 4OT Game 1 showdown. Like Hill, Bobrovsky was not intended to be the man between the pipes right now for Florida, but where would they be if he wasn’t?
The two-time Vezina winner will hope to put Game 1 behind him and get his team in the win column in the Final for the first time in franchise history when they take the ice for Game 2 on Monday night.