The Stanley Cup Final will start on Wednesday and the Tampa Bay Lightning will defend their title against the Colorado Avalanche. The Lightning did what they always do in Game 6: win. They defeated the New York Rangers to advance to their third straight Cup. The Avs have had a lot of down time after sweeping the Edmonton Oilers. We’re going to look at which players make sense as bets to win NHL playoff MVP — the Conn Smythe trophy. yers make sense as be
Conn Smythe Trophy picks
Cale Makar (+180) — We wrote up Makar as the favorite not too long ago and sentiments haven’t really changed much. If the Avalanche win this series, Makar will almost certainly be named MVP of the postseason. Even if another player on the Avs has a big series, it’s hard to see Makar not being involved. Plus, it’s hard to ignore Makar’s impact on both ends. Some of the plays he made on Connor McDavid in the third round we could see on Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. If that’s the case, it won’t go overlooked by the voters.
Nathan MacKinnon (+200) — MacKinnon is the Avs’ gamebreaker and we’ve said before that he would need a very big series to win Conn Smythe. MacKinnon has the name value, so it may not take a “big” series, so to speak. If MacKinnon scores in the majority of the games in the Cup Final, is that enough to overtake Makar? Also take into account Makar has assisted on seven of MacKinnon’s 11 goals this postseason. It feels like MacKinnon needs at least 3-4 goals in this series to really push himself past Makar.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (+400) — To be honest, I’m surprised Vasilevskiy isn’t No. 2 in terms of odds ahead of MacKinnon. It’s really just the books thinking the Avs are this big favorite to win the series. In my eyes, it’s tighter and Vasilevskiy has a very, very clear path to another Conn Smythe. If he stands on his head a few times, chances are the Bolts will win a third straight Cup.
Kucherov is the same odds at 4/1. He’s got the points but really hasn’t passed the eye test this postseason. If you asked any Lightning fan or writer, they’d tell you he’s made some great plays but disappears at stretches. Kucherov had at least 32 points in each of the past two playoffs and didn’t win Conn Smythe. The right wing likely doesn’t do enough in this series to win it.
So Vasilevskiy is my favorite on the TB side to win the Conn Smythe this time around. My dark horse to monitor is Stamkos. He was 18/1 to win the award before Game 6 last night. He scored two goals and his line moved to +1500. If Stamkos keeps this up, he has a shot to steal the award. Other than raw stats, he has a pretty convincing case that writers can get behind. Captain of the dynasty and hasn’t won the award in this seasons. Has come up big with Brayden Point out. Kucherov hasn’t been great. Victor Hedman hasn’t been great. Vasilevskiy has been fine, but not nearly as good as last postseason. A few big goals from Stammer and it could push him up the ladder quickly.
Here’s a full look at odds to win the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final.
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