In less than a week, the Stanley Cup will have been handed out, and a new champion will have been crowned. Along with the NHL championship trophy, the MVP award must also be distributed.
There are several worthy candidates to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, though the power rankings have shifted a bit as a result of the Vegas Golden Knights’ 3-1 series advantage over the Florida Panthers.
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. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers (Previous Rank: 2)
Matthew Tkachuk has been the offensive leader all season long for the Panthers. With 24 points in the playoffs, no one has more points than Tkachuk (though two other players are tied with him).
Unfortunately, he will not win the award without winning the Stanley Cup, and with his apparent injury keeping him from playing at full strength, the odds of him being able to help the Cats stage a comeback do not seem good.
4. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers (1)
In rounds one through three, no player in the NHL was better than Sergei Bobrovsky. With that said, the Stanley Cup Final has not been as kind to the veteran netminder.
His .924 save percentage, while still impressive, is down about ten points from the start of the series, especially after a horrid Game 2 that saw Bobrovsky surrender four goals on 13 shots. If the Panthers can come back, though, it will be because of their goaltender.
3. Adin Hill, Vegas Golden Knights (5)
Speaking of goaltenders, Adin Hill has been remarkable since being called upon, and he has been especially strong in the Cup Final. His .934 save percentage is the best of any goalie this spring, and he has posted a save percentage of .935 or better in three of four Finals contests.
He may be third in the pecking order when it comes to Golden Knights on this list, but had he played the entire postseason, he might be number one. As it stands, he has still been a critical piece of Vegas’s success.
2. Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights (3)
Also key has been the NHL playoff assist leader, Jack Eichel. In 21 games, he has notched 17 helpers, three more than any other player. In four Stanley Cup Final games, Eichel has racked up five assists.
In total, the first-time playoff participant has 23 points, which is fourth in the NHL in playoff scoring, one point off of the lead. He may not be an experienced postseason player, but that hasn’t prevented him from helping to guide the Golden Knights toward a championship.
1. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights (4)
Although it’s impossible to say enough about Eichel and Hill, Jonathan Marchessault has been the one to steal the show. In his second Stanley Cup Final with Vegas, he is tied for the league lead in points with 24 and goals with 13.
His play of late is what really has him in the driver’s seat for the Conn Smythe Trophy. In the Final, Marchessault has four goals and seven points in four games. He’s on a nine-game point streak dating back to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, and he’s got 14 points in that span.
If the Golden Knights can close out this series, it should be number 81 that gets the nod as playoff MVP.