Following each round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Houses of the Hockey contributors will rank their top three choices for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Below are composite rankings based upon the first three rounds.
HOTH Conn Smythe Standings for May 31, 2011:
1. Ryan Kesler
2. Henrik Sedin
3. (Tie) Tim Thomas/Patrice Bergeron
After dominating our standings through two rounds of playoff action, Dwayne Roloson has tumbled off the board.
The Vancouver Canucks may not be Canada’s team, but Ryan Kesler is America’s player. The Sedins’ awakening versus San Jose relieved the smattering of criticism they had come under for their disappearing act versus Chicago and Nashville, thus giving wizard Henrik a bit of a push in our rankings. Ryan Kesler, though, has been hailed by most as the Canucks best player throughout these playoffs. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron has also drawn a lot of praise for his play on both sides of the puck, and Tim Thomas has succeeded Dwayne Roloson as the best performer between the pipes this spring.
Here’s what our staff had to say about some of their picks:
Jonathan Willis on Ryan Kesler: “Vancouver’s top defensive forward has also been an offensive leader, particularly against Nashville.”
Rick Moldovanyi on Henrik Sedin: “He leads the playoffs in scoring and he certainly turned it on in round three. He padded his stats against San Jose and pushed off any criticism people had about him going into the final. As the Canucks captain, he’s certainly leading the way.”
Sean Tomlinson on David Krejci and Nathan Horton: “Horton and Krecji have been the two most consistent Bruins offensively. Both lead the team in points with 17 apiece, and Horton is scoring the timely goals with his two massive game-winners to finish off the Habs and Lightning, while Krejci aimed for volume with five goals against Tampa. After a sluggish start in the first round in which he was held off the scoresheet entirely for six of the Bruins’ seven opening games, Krejci found his stride quickly and has now scored nine goals in the 11 games since Boston ousted the Canadiens.
Kent Wilson on Kesler: “Best overall forward on the favorite heading into the finals. Kesler continues to do a lot of the defensive heaving lifting and is still one of the highest scoring forwards in the playoffs. Vancouver isn’t in the finals without his performance in the second round versus the Predators for sure.”
Willis on Patrice Bergeron: “Boston’s best forward has provided both offense and defense, and is the only centre on the team starting more in his own end than in the attacking zone. His strong two-way play has given other lines a chance to spend most of their time on the offensive.”
Tomlinson on Henrik Sedin: “The twin that enjoys passing far more than brother Daniel earns top honours with his incredible 12 points against San Jose, and 13 points over Vancouver’s last six playoff games.”
Moldovanyi on Tim Thomas: “One of the main reasons the Bruins got past the Lightning and why Boston has a chance against Vancouver. He wasn’t always spectacular, but when he was it was great.”
Willis on Thomas: “The regular season’s best goaltender has also been the best goaltender so far in these playoffs.”
Others receiving votes: Nathan Horton, Martin St. Louis, David Krejci