Heading into the Stanley Cup Finals, two of the Conn Smythe favorites were Florida Panthers. However, thanks to a dominant first two games in Vegas, three Golden Knights now find themselves with the shortest odds to win the NHL’s playoff MVP award. With a possible five games left in the series and so much yet to happen, this year’s Conn Smythe is far from a certainty, but let’s take a look at the favorites in Vegas.
Marchessault may have been overshadowed by Jack Eichel’s postseason debut earlier in the playoffs, but he’s been the clear top dog in Vegas over the team’s last ten games and his Conn Smythe odds have shown just that. After scoring four points in his first nine games, Marchessault has exploded for seventeen points in his last ten. He’s not just getting it done in the offensive zone, though. In fact, Marchessault has a very good opportunity to overtake Nikita Kucherov’s +18 as the best playoff plus/minus in the modern era. After Game 2, he sits at +17.
Eichel may not be the favorite from Vegas anymore, but he isn’t far behind in the Conn Smythe conversation. In his first ever trip to the playoffs, the former second overall pick leads the Golden Knights in points with 22 in 19 games and has been a force to be reckoned with from the first game on. His plus/minus numbers may not be equal to Marchessault’s, but he’s not far off at +13 either. Overall, the odds are skewing towards Marchessault because he’s been the most dominant player recently, but the Conn Smythe could deservingly go to either one of them. If Eichel stands out in Game 3, expect the odds to really even up between the two.
Finally, we’ve got Adin Hill. Only Andrei Vasilevskiy has won the MVP award from the crease since Tim Thomas and Jonathan Quick went back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, but Hill has definitely made a Conn Smythe case for himself. After not even starting Round 1 in net, Hill was forced in by the second round and hasn’t looked back since. Heading into Game 3, the 26-year-old has a GAA of 2.06 and an SVP of .937%. For a guy who had never started a playoff game before this year, his poise and ability to just enjoy the moment has been fantastic. Although he may be overshadowed by the stars up front, everyone in the Vegas locker room knows how important Adin Hill has been on this Stanley Cup run.
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