In my previous article, I made my picks for the opening round of the playoffs. I am now going to take the bold move of selecting one player to win the Conn Smythe trophy.
To select a projected winner you have to pick a team that you believe truly has the best chance at winning the cup. Then you have to pick who you believe will be the standout player on that team in the finals.
Using that criteria, I am going to pick the Pittsburgh Penguins to hoist Lord Stanley's mug. Other than Anaheim, they have what I believe is the most complete team in the league. They have unmatched depth at forward with 3 lines that can burn you on a night to night basis. They have grit and experience. They have the perfect blend of scoring, size and toughness on the back end. Finally, they have quite possibly the best 1, 2 combination at the goaltender position with Marc-Andre Fleury and Ty Conklin.
Now that begs the question. Who among them do I think will be the stand-out player on that team? That is where it gets tricky. Over the history of the NHL there have been very few players that have won this prestigious award that were not from Canada. I believe this year will be different. This year we seen, when Sidney Crosby went down with the high-ankle sprain, Evgeni Malkin become a big time elite player in this league. He was so dominant that he ended the season second in league scoring, only behind the league MVP Alexander Ovechkin.
In closing, needless to say, my pick for the Conn Smythe trophy this year will be Pittsburgh Penguins #71, Evgeni Malkin.
But then again, I have been known to be wrong before...