Each year, the Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just like in the regular season with the Player Power Rankings, Hockey Prospectus will use its metric analysis to measure which postseason player is most deserving of the coveted award.
These rankings are based on player production in terms of Hockey Prospectus' GVT valuation metric. This is not a subjective evaluation of these players and combines an array of statistics to assess a player's contributions to his team. If you are unfamiliar with GVT and how it works, you can find out more here.
For the past two seasons Hockey Prospectus has nailed the ultimate playoff MVP (Jonathan Toews in 2010, Tim Thomas in 2011) using this formula. As the Conn Smythe Watch returns for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, we see several of the postseason's biggest names atop the list.
As the playoffs progress, players will be removed from the list as their team is eliminated. However, to properly show their postseason impact, we will include eliminated players for at least one installment after their elimination. Also, for those who followed our Player Power Rankings during the regular season, for the postseason we have grouped the skaters and goalies together, since they will all be competing for the same ultimate prize -- the Conn Smythe Trophy.
These rankings are through April 29.
OGVT: Offensive GVT
GGVT: Goaltending GVT
DGVT: Defensive GVT
GVT: Total GVT
Rank Player OGVT/GGVT DGVT GVT
1. Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes 6.7 0.0 6.7
Comment: The Coyotes were massively outshot 241-159 in their first-round series yet escaped with a win in six games. Smith single-handedly allowed his team to win by stopping 95 percent of those shots.
2. Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers 5.8 0.6 6.3
Comment: The Devils will have to do a better job of stopping Giroux than the Penguins did or risk sharing their fate. Even being on the power play isn't a guarantee of safety: Giroux had three points short-handed in the first round.
3. Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings 6.3 0.0 6.3
Comment: Quick continued his fantastic play into Round 2 with a 3-1 victory over St. Louis. He has the best save percentage (.955) of any goaltender left in the playoffs.
4. Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers 5.1 0.0 5.1
Comment: A model of consistency? Lundqvist hasn't had a save percentage below .903 in any of his eight playoff games.
5. Cory Schneider, G, Vancouver Canucks 3.7 0.0 3.7
Comment: With Schneider's heroics weren't enough to help the Canucks defeat the Kings, but they may have longer-term implications: cementing him as the team's No. 1 and driving Roberto Luongo out of town.
6. Jordan Staal, F, Pittsburgh Penguins 3.4 0.2 3.6
Comment: Staal was the second-leading scorer of the first round, but the Penguins' abysmal team defense and goaltending sealed their elimination.
7. Brian Elliott, G, St. Louis Blues 2.7 0.0 2.7
Comment: Elliott has carried over his strong regular-season play to the playoffs, with a 1.51 GAA and .944 save percentage, which are, amazingly, even better than his regular-season numbers.
8. Andy McDonald, F, St. Louis Blues 2.5 0.1 2.6
Comment: McDonald has had his share of injuries in his five years with the Blues but has been nearly a point-a-game player when healthy. He led the Ducks with 10 goals during their 2007 Cup victory.
9. Dustin Brown, F, Los Angeles Kings 2.2 0.4 2.6
Comment: On a team starved for offense all year, Brown has been the driving force so far in the playoffs. He has scored four of his team's 15 goals, including two short-handed goals, and leads his team in goals, points, shots on goal, plus/minus and hits.
10. Patrik Berglund, F, St. Louis Blues 1.9 0.5 2.4
Comment: On a team without offensive superstars, secondary scoring is essential. Berglund, who played much of the season on a line with Chris Stewart, has been much more successful paired with Alex Steen and Andy McDonald.
A version of this story originally appeared at ESPN Insider .
Tom Awad is an author of Hockey Prospectus.
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