Each year, the NHL awards the Conn Smythe Trophy to the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup playoffs. And each year since 2010, Hockey Prospectus' GVT metric has been able to accurately forecast the award winner. With two rounds of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs in the books, who holds the early lead in the postseason MVP race?
On the strength of leading his team to the Western Conference finals while posting stellar numbers -- including a .948 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average in 13 playoff games -- Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick vaults to the top of the Conn Smythe watch.
Conn Smythe Power Rankings
are through the end of Round 2.
Los Angeles Kings
Only two players have won the Conn Smythe Trophy in consecutive
years: Bernard Parent, who won it in 1974 and 1975, and Mario Lemieux, in
1991 and 1992. Quick has put himself in position to equal that feat. His .948
save percentage nearly mirrors his 2012 playoff mark of .946.
On a team with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, Letang is tied
for the team points lead with 16 and leads the NHL with 13 assists. He also
leads the Penguins in ice time, playing 27 minutes per game.
Over the past three seasons, Krejci has 43 playoff points, by
far the most in the NHL and 34 percent more than second-place Joe Thornton.
Impressively, 35 of those points have been at even strength.
New York Rangers
While Lundqvist has been the best regular-season goaltender of
the past decade, his playoff numbers haven't reflected it. But over the past
two years, he has a combined .933 save percentage and 9.6 GVT.
Malkin has already been playoff MVP once, in 2009, and his most
important job this year is the same as it was then: to provide the primary
scoring if, as expected, the Bruins concentrate their best shutdown efforts
on Crosby (as Detroit did in 2009).
Crosby is tied for the playoff lead with seven goals, but to
understand his value to the Penguins, it's more relevant to note that he
leads all remaining playoff forwards in average ice time, playing 21:46 per
Vokoun provides more proof that playoff experience matters less
than being a good goaltender. Despite having previously played only 11
playoff games in 15 NHL seasons, Vokoun has been excellent for the Penguins,
posting a .941 save percentage while addressing the team's only weakness.
Horton has been as good as he was in 2011, with 12 points and a
league-leading plus-14, although he has been helped by starting an amazing 74
percent of his shifts in the offensive zone -- indicating that the Bruins
are, as usual, leaving the hard work to Patrice Bergeron's line.
Crawford has kept the Hawks in almost every game, allowing one
goal or fewer in seven of his 12 playoff starts.
Less heralded than teammates Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane,
Sharp was key to the Hawks' 2010 Cup victory, in which he contributed 22
points, and has been fantastic during this season's run, as he is tied for
the playoff lead with seven goals.