The Conn Smythe Trophy is always a bridesmaid.
Year after year we see the winner “humbly” collect the trophy, posing for a half-smiled photograph, before speedily moving it aside so the team can collect hockey’s top prize.
While hockey is a complete team game, winning the Conn Smythe is still is a major honor. Awarded to the most valuable player of the playoffs (not just the Cup Final, as many forget), the Conn Smythe is won after two months of postseason hell. In the past two years, there has been a lot of criticism towards the award as Sidney Crosby has won it consecutively. It got us thinking about all the factors that go into winning the award; point totals, plus/minus, two-way play, leadership, clutch scoring, among many other things.
With these thoughts and more in mind, we asked you to rank the Top 6 Conn Smythe Trophy winners since 2002.
TOP-6 (Community Results)
- Sidney Crosby
- Patrick Kane
- Jonathan Toews
- Jonathan Quick
- Nicklas Lidstrom
- Henrik Zetterberg
Well, I guess that puts the Crosby stuff to bed for all of you that voted! In reality, love him or hate him, Crosby perfected two-way play the last two years of the playoffs. Along with the pressure of leading his team and performing, he also had to deal with being the most targeted threat by every opponent he faced. He was able to overcome all of that (and a head injury) to lead his team to consecutive Cups. I am not saying he is the only name that should have been considered, but he is worthy of the reward. We understand why he became your No. 1.
There were three noticeable absences on this list, however:
1. Evgeni Malkin (2009) – Malkin scored 36 points during the Penguins’ run to the Cup this year. Just to put that into perspective, the only names in Conn Smythe winner history with more points end in Gretzky and Lemieux. Not only was this performance worthy of being on this list, it could easily be No. 1!
2. Justin Williams (2014) – William optimizes money players. With five points in three Game 7s during the Kings’ second run for the Cup, we cannot think of a more deserving player. Not to mention his 25 points in the playoffs without being known as a superstar is nothing short of a standout performance (one he seems to replicate every time his teams go far in the postseason). Maybe not a top-4 – but absolutely a top-6!
3. J.S. Giguere (2003) – Jiggy was the only player on this list that won the award without actually winning the Cup – that alone says something. With that said, the Ducks never would have made it to the Cup Final without him that postseason. He took the team the distance (literally Game 7 of the Final) and lost to an experienced New Jersey Devils team with a Martin Brodeur in his prime (who also could have won the Conn Smythe that year). On the way to the Final, the Ducks knocked off two Cup favorites (Detroit & Dallas) and another hot team in the Minnesota Wild. His game-saving saves in each game were inspiring and I believe he should have been on this list.
Thanks for voting & watching! Make sure to join the conversation below or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. New Top-6 is next week and it will be of the goaltending variety.
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