There is no better way to establish a reputation as a clutch playoff performer than to come away with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP when all is said and done. Four of the last five winners—Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in Chicago, Jonathan Quick in L.A. and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh—are still alive in the postseason, and countless others have put in creditable performances through the first round.
Who would win the award if voting were held right now? To answer that question, we assembled our panel: Adrian Dater, Dave Lozo, Steve Macfarlane, Allan Mitchell, Lyle Richardson, Rob Vollman and myself. The experts each produced a top-15 list, and from those individual ballots we have compiled an ordered list of candidates.
Read on to see who, based on their first-round performance, looks deserving of the title of playoff MVP.