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April 19, 2011
Conn Smythe Watch
Carey Price Early Conn Smythe Leader

by Tom Awad

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Each year the Conn Smythe trophy is awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just as during the regular season with their 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. If you are unfamiliar with GVT and how it works, you can find more here.

One glance at the rankings below and you can see a number of goalies have had some big success early in each series. While the stoppers may stay hot, expect them to drop back as the playoffs progress. For starters, some will be eliminated with their teams. Others will simply be passed by top-producing skaters. In the meantime, however, their contributions have been notable and set up an interesting race as the march to the Cup continues.

Conn Smythe Watch

These rankings are based on postseason games through April 17.

Legend:

OGVT: Offensive GVT

GGVT: Goaltending GVT

DGVT: Defensive GVT

GVT: Total GVT

Rank Player                                    OGVT/GGVT  DGVT    GVT
1.   Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens         4.0       0.0     4.0    

Comment: Price's spectacular numbers over the first two games -- 0.50 GAA, .985 save percentage -- have keyed the Canadiens to a 2-0 lead over the Bruins.

2.   Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings       3.0       0.0     3.0    

Comment: The Kings knew they'd need great goaltending to overcome the Sharks without Anze Kopitar. So far they've gotten it, going home tied despite having been outshot 79-58.

3.   Dwayne Roloson, G, Tampa Bay Lightning     2.7       0.0     2.7   

Comment: Five years ago, Roloson led the surprising Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals. At age 41, this may be his last chance to make noise in the playoffs.

4.   Pavel Datsyuk, F, Detroit Red Wings        2.2       0.2     2.4     

Comment: When it's not Zetterberg killing you, it's Datsyuk. The Russian magician leads all playoff scorers with 5 points and has embarrassed several Coyotes defensemen in the process.

 
5.   Michal Neuvirth, G, Washington Capitals    2.3       0.0     2.3

Comment: With Semyon Varlamov having been in net for the Capitals' last two playoff failures, it was expected that Neuvirth would get a chance. So far he hasn't disappointed, allowing only four goals on 82 shots.

6.   Mike Fisher, G, Nashville Predators        2.0       0.2     2.2     

Comment: So far, Fisher has been worth the first-round pick Nashville gave up to acquire him. After putting up only 1.8 GVT in 82 games with Ottawa and Nashville in the regular season, he's already exceeded that total in two playoff games.

7.   Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks         1.9       0.2     2.1    

Comment: The regular-season scoring leader has wasted no time reproducing his magic in the playoffs. He's been involved in five of the Canucks' nine goals as they've taken a 3-0 stranglehold on their series with the Blackhawks.

8.   Teemu Selanne, F, Anaheim Ducks            1.9       0.1     2.0    

Comment: If experience matters in the playoffs, then Selanne will continue to be unstoppable. The 40-year-old leads all playoff performers with four goals, including three on the power play.

9.   Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver Canucks       1.9       0.0     1.9     

Comment: If experience matters in the playoffs, then Selanne will continue to be unstoppable. The 40-year-old leads all playoff performers with four goals, including three on the power play.

10.  Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings         1.7       0.2     1.9    

Comment: In last year's playoffs, Doughty and Jack Johnson turned the L.A. power play into an unstoppable machine with a 38.5 percent success rate. They're at 33.3 percent after two games and will need to keep it up to have a chance against the Sharks.

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

Tom Awad is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Tom by clicking here or click here to see Tom's other articles.

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