The Stanley Cup could be decided on Thursday, so it’s time to take a look at potential winners for Playoff MVP. While Vegas gives over a dozen options to wager on, there are really only three people currently deserving of the award.
Conn Smythe Odds
Here are the latest Conn Smythe Odds, according to BetOnline:
Heading into the Stanley Cup Final, it was Marc-Andre Fleury who was listed as the betting favorite. Fleury would be just the sixth goalie to win the award since 2000, but has been torched by the Capitals in this series. He’s still priced at +450 because he’s had an awesome postseason, and if the Knights do come back, he will most certainly play a large role. But all things considered, he doesn’t appear to be in contention. That doesn’t mean, however, that the award can’t go to a goalie.
Braden Holtby made the save of the season in Game 2, and has been all-around outstanding in this series. He also posted back-to-back shutouts in the Eastern Conference finals, giving him an outside chance to win the award at +800.
Personally, the way Washington has been blocking shots in this series, there’s no way the defensive credit can go to Holtby. The Caps have won that battle 68-25 in this series, preventing a large majority of the shots from ever getting on goal.
Because it’s so hard for a goalie to win the award, we’ll drift away and look at the other two candidates. In my opinion, Evegeny Kuznetsov has been the best offensive player in the postseason and deserves the award. Kuznetsov leads all players with 31 points in the postseason, five more than Ovechkin. Kuznetsov is a solid bet at +160, especially if he continues to produce in this series.
But if the Capitals finally capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, how can the award not go to Alex Ovechkin?
In his lucky 13th NHL season, one of the world’s best is finally on the precipice of a title. Ovi leads all players in the postseason with 14 goals, and is the leader of this team. He’s also added 12 assists, and has a point in every game of the Stanley Cup Final.
Conn Smythe Prediction
To me, Kuznetsov is the engine that makes the Capitals offense run. But if I’m placing a wager, it’s on Ovechkin. He deserves it, and played well enough that the numbers justify him giving the award even if Kuznetsov has a slight edge.
Prediction: Ovechkin wins Conn Smythe