NHL Stanley Cup MVP Predictions
Best Conn Smythe Trophy bets
By Angelo Montilla
We’ve narrowed our MVP candidates down to five favorites with one sleeper. Odds are courtesy of BetOnline.
1. Sidney Crosby (+260)
Many people thought Sidney Crosby would be finished for the post-season after taking a scary hit in the second round against the Washington Capitals. Despite suffering a concussion, Crosby made a quick comeback to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Cup final for a second straight season.
Crosby is second in playoff scoring — behind teammate Evgeni Malkin — with seven goals and 13 assists for 20 points. The last player to win back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophy honors was Penguins hockey Hall of Famer and current franchise owner Mario Lemieux, who accomplished the feat in 1991 and 1992.
2. Evgeni Malkin (+225)
Coming in at No. 2 — down a spot from the conference finals — is Penguins star and playoff scoring leader Evgeni Malkin.
BetOnline had Malkin as a clear-cut favorite to take home the Conn Smythe Trophy and that still holds true as the power forward is pegged at +225 behind teammate Sidney Crosby.
Malkin was named playoff MVP when the Pens won the Cup in 2009. Geno is performing at the same level and leads the NHL in playoff scoring with seven goals, 17 assists and 24 points. Ten of Malkin’s points have come on the man advantage, making him a lethal weapon teams willing to take penalties against the Pens.
3. Pekka Rinne (+200)
Vaulting up the charts is Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, who owns a 1.70 goals-against average and .941 save percentage heading into the final.
Five goalies have won this award in the last 15 seasons — Patrick Roy, J.S. Giguere, Cam Ward, Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick. Rinne will try to become the sixth when he faces the high-powered Penguins offense. BetOnline is pegging Rinne as the +200 favorite to win the Conn Smythe.
4. Phil Kessel (+725)
Three of the last six Conn Smythe winners have been Americans. Phil Kessel can become the fourth in that span if he can put together another magical series against the Nashville Predators.
Pegged as a +725 favorite to take playoff MVP honors, Kessel has been remarkable during Pittsburgh’s current run to the finals. Kessel sits fourth in post-season scoring and will likely move into the top three, joining Malkin and Crosby at the top of the leaderboard.
5. Filip Forsberg (+850)
Don’t count out the Nashville Predators in this series and Filip Forsberg is the reason why. The Swede can change the landscape of a match with one flick of the stick. BetOnline considers the sniper a +850 favorite to win a Conn Smythe Trophy. Forsberg’s eight post-season goals ranks second in NHL playoff scoring — one behind Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel heading into the highly anticipated series.
Roman Josi (+2200)
The Predators boast one of the best blue-lines in hockey and Roman Josi is a big reason for that. While the defenseman can put up points, it’s his awareness in his own zone that makes the Predators veteran so valuable. If the Predators do in fact upset the Penguins in the Stanley Cup final, BetOnline’s +2200 line that Josi will take home the Conn Smythe is a bet worth taking a chance on heading into the series.
Conn Smythe Pick: Sidney Crosby (+260)
Runner-up: Pekka Rinne (+200)