Who should win the Conn Smythe?
CHICAGO -- It was suggested to Patrick Sharp on Friday that this year's Conn Smythe race has been a challenging one to handicap because of how team-oriented the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are. On both teams, players up and down the lineup have shared in the success.
Perhaps to plant a seed, Sharp moved out of the way of the nameplate in front of his dressing room stall as a subtle suggestion that he'd be a good vote. He got a laugh but then followed it up with an honest assessment: The success of these two teams hasn't been about any one star.
"We're here because we've got a great goalie, great defense and forwards who can score," Sharp said. "That's an award that is definitely icing on the cake. Both teams, every player in the locker room will tell you that they want the Stanley Cup. That's the case with ours, for sure. We're a deep team. We're not here because of one player."
It makes it a challenging vote. To get some outside opinions involved, I asked a panel of 10 people around hockey -- a mix of players from the East and the West, GMs, coaches and one pro scout -- to submit their top three Conn Smythe candidates if they had to decide today. They were given anonymity to encourage honesty.
Sure, it's an unfair exercise because we don't know the Stanley Cup winner, which will go a long way in determining the choice, but it's interesting to see the wide range of opinions.
The votes were tallied using the same system the NHL employs for determining Conn Smythe winners -- five points for a first-place vote, three points for second and one for third. An extra ballot had to be removed from consideration because it included six names -- three from each team based on who won. But the comments from that general manager will still be used for additional insight.
Here's the breakdown:
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