Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 10/29/14
Los_angeles_kings_b034

Through three rounds of action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, here are the top contenders for the Conn Smythe Trophy, which is given annually to the NHL’s postseason MVP.

1. Jonathan Quick, KingsWhen you look at his peripheral stats – 1.54 goals-against average, .946 save percentage – Quick has been the best goaltender in these playoffs. When you look at his overall play – featuring countless highlight reel saves like this one – Quick has further proved he’s been the toughest goaltender to beat in these playoffs. Did I mention he has been good this postseason?
Usually the biggest argument for MVP’s, regular season or postseason, is what the team would without that individual player. Would the Kings be in the Stanley Cup final without Quick? Maybe. With the way the team has played in front of him, probably. But they certainly wouldn’t have made it look easy against Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix without Quick’s stellar play between the pipes.
Quick has been the best player this spring and is considered the (slight) favorite for the Conn Smythe heading into the Cup final.
2. Dustin Brown, KingsMany times throughout the first three rounds, between the clutch goals, big hits and great defensive play, Brown has been the Kings’ top performer. His impact goes beyond the offensive side of the puck. He, along with linemates Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, have been dominant in all three zones. Once they gain possession of the puck, it’s hard to get it back.
Brown ranks third in the NHL in playoff points (16), second among players still remaining. Three of his seven goals have been of the game-winning variety. Brown has especially been a physical force in these playoffs, recording a team-high 67 hits in 14 games. He has also been valuable in the sense that he has gotten under the skin of his opponents.
The Kings captain has done it all this postseason and should be considered a top Conn Smythe contender.
3. Ilya Kovalchuk, DevilsThe playoff points leader is always in the Conn Smythe discussion, and that is no different here with Kovalchuk. The Devils winger has 18 points in 17 games this spring and has scored some big goals along the way. He was dynamite in the second round against Philadelphia, racking up six points in the final three games of the series.
Not many people knew what to expect from Kovalchuk this postseason. Before the Devils beat Florida, Kovalchuk had never won a playoff series. Heck, he had only won one playoff game in his career. However, Kovalchuk has responded in a big way by becoming the most valuable cog in the Devils’ lineup; in three of the four games he has gone pointless, the team has been shut out.
4. Anze Kopitar, KingsKopitar’s two-way excellence has made a difference in their lineup for most of the first three rounds. Overall, Kopitar has 15 points in 14 games, including 11 points in the last eight games (seven of which were victories). Moreover, he has been dominant on both sides of the puck and boasts a plus-13 rating; he has only recorded a minus rating in one game this postseason.
The Slovenian has also come up big in the big moments. In Game 2 at St. Louis, he scored a pair of goals in a first period that set the tone for the rest of the series that ended in a Kings sweep. Then after Phoenix took a 1-0 lead early in the second period of Game 3 in the Western Conference Finals, Kopitar answered right back with a breakaway tally to regain the momentum to help the Kings take a 3-0 series advantage.
5. Martin Brodeur, DevilsSome believe Brodeur should be up there with Quick as one of the top contenders. Though the 40-year-old Devils netminder has been solid, he’s had a few clunkers in the playoffs; Brodeur has given up three goals or more five times, compared to Quick’s two. Brodeur also has a .923 save percentage compared to Quick’s .946. But Brodeur is on this list because of how clutch he was against the Rangers.
The Devils were outplayed for most of Games 5 and 6, but they were able to win both contests due to Brodeur’s timely stops. He was especially clutch in Game 6 when he stacked the pads in the third period to stone Brad Richards of a prime scoring chance.
He hasn’t been the backbone of the Devils’ surprising playoff success, but he’s been an important piece of the puzzle.
Honorable mention: Zach Parise, Devils; Drew Doughty, Kings
Photo credit: Getty Images
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Madison Bumgarner pitches Giants to World Series title

Giants fans get rowdy celebrating World Series win

Roy Williams' response to criticism over academic scandal

Jerry Jones challenging Tony Romo to play Sunday?

Wizards make rapper Wale new 'creative liaison' for team

Report: Joe Maddon to become Cubs manager

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rockets Harden and Ariza visit Julius Randle in the hospital

Dan Gilbert asked if he 'deserved' to have LeBron back

Brady: Maybe at Manning's age I'll be playing that well

Dolphins LB brings kid from stands to field before each game

NFL and MLB spending big money on mid-term elections

High school football player reportedly stabs teammate

WATCH: Chevy guy bombs World Series presentation

WATCH: James Ennis throws down dunk of the season

Kris Humphries shares nasty photo of gruesome finger injury

WATCH: Joe Panik makes play of the game in Game 7

Russell Westbrook wears aluminum foil-like outfit

WATCH: Capitals' Chimera suffers nasty broken nose

Robert Griffin III to start against Vikings

WATCH: Navy raps about Notre Dame, set to ‘Anaconda’

Rulon Gardner selling Olympic memorabilia to pay $3.9M debt

Mike Pettine says he ‘can sense’ Johnny Manziel’s frustration

WATCH: Unreal ending to H.S. game; QB forgets to finish play

Five NBA teams set to surprise in 2014-15

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Williams' response to criticism

WATCH: Chevy guy totally bombs

Bumgarner pitches Giants to title

Report: Cubs to hire Maddon as manager

Tom Brady talks Peyton Manning

Best Game 7s in World Series history

NFL, MLB spend on mid-term elections

Gurley suspended four games

Gordie Howe suffered stroke

WATCH: Kobe and Dwight get into it

Notre Dame WR will not be punished

Jose Canseco shot off his finger

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.