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May 3, 2011
Conn Smythe Watch
Roloson Tops Playoff MVP Watch

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.

As Round 2 continues, more and more skaters have emerged in the top-10 list, but no one can touch Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Dwayne Roloson, who is far and away the MVP of the playoffs to this point. Here's how the top candidates stack up so far:

Conn Smythe Watch

These rankings are based on postseason games through May 1.

Legend:

OGVT: Offensive GVT

GGVT: Goaltending GVT

DGVT: Defensive GVT

GVT: Total GVT

Rank Player                                    OGVT/GGVT  DGVT    GVT
 
1.   Dwayne Roloson, G, Tampa Bay Lightning     8.8       0.0     8.8    

Comment: Despite being 41, this is only Roloson's fourth year in the NHL playoffs. He backed up Dominik Hasek for four games in 1999; in 2003 he helped the Minnesota Wild to the conference final; and in 2006 he led the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals.

2.   Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers      2.4       0.5     2.9

Comment: In the three seasons since he entered the NHL, Giroux is seventh in playoff assists (24) and 10th in playoff points (37).

3.   Pavel Datsyuk, F, Detroit Red Wings        2.3       0.4     2.7    

Comment: Datsyuk has continued to impress but he will need more help from the rest of the Wings' offensive machinery if they are to overcome the 0-2 deficit they face against the Sharks.

4.   Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins         2.0       0.6     2.6     

Comment: Bergeron has been the best faceoff man in the playoffs, winning an amazing 61 percent of his draws.

5.   Jimmy Howard, G, Detroit Red Wings         2.6       0.0     2.6   

Comment: Goaltending was the Wings' biggest question mark going into the playoffs, but Howard has been equal to the task, stopping 93 percent of the shots he's faced, including an amazing 95.2 percent of 83 shots in the first two games against San Jose.

6.   Ryan Clowe, F, San Jose Sharks             2.2       0.4     2.6     

Comment: The Sharks' second line of Clowe, Logan Couture and Dany Heatley is currently the best No. 2 line in the NHL.

7.  Vincent Lecavalier, F, Tampa Bay Lightning  2.3       0.3     2.6    

Comment: Vinny's back! After three seasons during which he failed to terrorize NHL goaltenders, Lecavalier is tied for second in playoff scoring with 10 points.

8.   Steve Downie, F, Tampa Bay Lightning       1.8       0.6     2.4    

Comment: Downie's role is that of a hitter and playmaker: He only has eight shots in the playoffs, his shots per game of 1.0 is the lowest of any top-six forward.

9.   Brad Marchand, F, Boston Bruins            1.6       0.6     2.2     

Comment: Previously known for his penalty killing, Marchand has been dangerous at 5-on-5 with all of his eight points coming at even strength. His plus-8 rating leads the playoffs.

10.  Danny Briere, F, Philadelphia Flyers       2.4      -0.3     2.1    

Comment: Since the lockout, Briere leads all playoff scorers with 92 points and ranks second in goals (40) and assists (52).

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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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Draft Mid-Terms (05/02)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Conn Smythe Watch (04/26)
Next Column >>
Conn Smythe Watch (05/10)
Next Article >>
Howe and Why (05/04)

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