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May 17, 2011
Conn Smythe Watch
Ryan Kesler Rockets Up Rankings

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.

The Sedin twins have struggled. Roberto Luongo has been sporadic. But there has been one constant in the Canucks' charge to a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference finals -- the play of Ryan Kesler. The American-born center is up to the No. 3 spot in this week's Conn Smythe Watch. Here's how the rest of the rankings shake out:

Conn Smythe Watch

These rankings are based on postseason games through May 16.

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     9.1       0.0     9.1    

Comment: Like Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Cam Ward, Roloson will be better remembered for his success at backstopping surprise playoff contenders than for his (limited) regular-season accomplishments.

2.   Tim Thomas, G, Boston Bruins               5.8       0.0     5.8

Comment: Saturday's 5-2 loss was only the second time in the playoffs Thomas had allowed more than 3 goals.

3.   Ryan Kesler, F, Vancouver Canucks          3.4       0.9     4.3   

Comment: Kesler is playing so well that his 23 minutes of ice time per game are more than any other Canucks forward and, in the last few games, more than every defenseman except Dan Hamhuis.

4.   Ryan Clowe, F, San Jose Sharks             2.6       0.6     3.2     

Comment: Clowe missed Game 6 against the Red Wings and if he is not fully healthy, it will be a huge blow to the Sharks' chances of advancing to the finals.

5.  Vincent Lecavalier, F, Tampa Bay Lightning  2.6       0.6     3.2    

Comment: His game has changed, but Lecavalier is playing as well as he did during Tampa Bay's 2004 Cup run, and he's actually getting marginally more ice time.

6.   Steve Downie, F, Tampa Bay Lightning       2.3       0.8     3.1    

Comment: Downie's 10 points at even strength tie him for third in the league behind Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

7.   Teddy Purcell, F, Tampa Bay Lightning      2.4       0.3     2.8    

Comment: Sometimes a change of scenery is all that is needed: Purcell couldn't crack the lineup with the Los Angeles Kings but has blossomed in Tampa Bay. It also helps that he regularly plays on the power play with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.

8.   Martin St. Louis, F, Tampa Bay Lightning   3.5      -0.8     2.7     

Comment: St. Louis has continued his power-play magic in the playoffs: he leads the league with eight power-play points and has participated in 62 percent of Tampa Bay's power-play goals.

9.   Logan Couture, F, San Jose Sharks          2.4       0.3     2.7     

Comment: Couture is following Wayne Gretzky's legendary adage, "100 percent of the shots you don't take don't go in." His 52 shots are third in the league and tied with Devin Setoguchi for tops on the Sharks.

10.  Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins         2.2       0.3     2.5    

Comment: Game 1 exhibited why Boston needs Bergeron so much: He is the key to Boston's defensive unit, although the Bruins were not burned by the Lightning's big guns but by their depth forwards, Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark and Purcell.

A version of this story originally appeared at 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
Angles and Caroms (05/15)
<< Previous Column
Conn Smythe Watch (05/10)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Conn Smythe Watch (05/25)
Next Article >>
From Daigle To Datsyuk (05/18)

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