2008 Conn Smythe Winner: Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers

Ian ZymarakisSenior Analyst IApril 10, 2008

When one thinks of the New York Rangers and their chances of going far in the playoffs most peoples first thoughts would be that they will go as far as goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will take them.

This is why he is my choice for the Conn Smythe in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lundqvist was in the top 10 of virtually every statistical category among goaltenders during the 2007-2008 season which included being 1st in total shutouts with 10 and 5th in wins among others.

In just 3 full seasons in the league Lundqvist has already tallied 104 wins while playing more games in each season compared to his rookie year in 2005-2006.

Not to mention he won a gold medal for Sweden in the 2006 Olympic games becoming the youngest goaltender to ever lead his team to a gold medal.

He is seen as a guy who turned a franchise around that hadn't appeared in the postseason since Mike Richter was the netminder in what seems so long ago.

Henrik Lundqvist in my opinion is a top 5 NHL Goalie but many might put him on the outside of that in their 6-8 range.

These playoffs will be Lundqvist coming out party, although he is one of the best goalies in the world he is not yet put in the same group as Brodeur, Luongo and Kiprusoff.

The Rangers even with future hall of famers like Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan are depending on their young goaltender, he's only 26 years old, to guide them through the playoffs.

Especially with what many see as a young defense that include Marc Staal and Daniel Girardi the pressure is on Lundqvist even more to literally stand on his head if need be to make saves.

He proved he is capable of this in last nights game 1 victory vs. New Jersey in which Henrik made 26 saves on 27 shots including a save right on the doorstep that was included as a top play nominee on SportsCenter.

So if you are looking for a player who is a game changer and is already a proven winner in such a short time look no further then Henrik Lundqvist, your 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conn Smythe Winner.