Professional and Conn: Sizing up St. Louis’ Conn Smythe candidates

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ST. LOUIS — It’s grow to be fairly the Conn-undrum for Conn Smythe Trophy voters.

If the Blues are in a position to pull it off and hoist Lord Stanley for the primary time in franchise historical past, who ought to take dwelling the {hardware} because the playoffs’ most dear participant?

Final yr, it was all the way down to Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov from the Capitals. Tuukka Rask can be the clear front-runner if the Bruins full the comeback.

However it’s large open for the Blues. There is no such thing as a clear lower winner. The checklist of candidates might be 5 sturdy – they usually every have their very own deserves. 

In different phrases: Buckle up. It’s going to be fascinating.

The problem is voters from the Skilled Hockey Writers Affiliation should weigh a participant’s impression on the whole thing of the playoffs and never simply the Stanley Cup Ultimate.

The Blues are the one group within the NHL with a Conn Smythe winner however no Stanley Cup banner. “Mr. Goalie” Glenn Corridor received in 1968 in a shedding effort when the Blues have been swept by the Canadiens.

That would all change on Sunday.

Let’s check out the Blues candidates, in alphabetical order:



Stats: 24 GP, 15-9-Zero document, 2.46 GAA, .913 SV%

Professional: “Winnington” might grow to be the primary rookie goaltender ever to win all 16 video games required for the Stanley Cup (Patrick Roy received 15 of 16 in 1986) … The Bounce Again Child has a .937 save proportion this season following a loss … The Blues are 7-1 in Video games 5-7 in sequence this spring and Binnington hasn’t allowed greater than two targets in any recreation … Made 59 saves on 62 pictures within the Ultimate after getting pulled in Sport 3 … Whereas the remainder of the Blues candidates have been cold and hot, Binnington was making saves your entire playoffs.

Conn: Binnington was yanked in Sport Three of the Ultimate after permitting 5 targets on 19 pictures … He would have the bottom save proportion of any Conn Smythe winner since fellow rookie Cam Ward in 2006. The 4 goalie winners since 2000 averaged a .935 save proportion … Binnington hasn’t been one of the best goalie within the sequence in two of the 4 rounds; Ben Bishop was higher in Spherical 2, Rask has outplayed him within the Ultimate.

Quote: “Unbelievable. I mean, he won one for us here. It was a huge game by him. Very impressive. I don’t really know, I could talk about that performance all day. It was unreal. Good for him. That was awesome.” — Colton Parayko after Sport 5



Stats: 24 GP, 6 targets, 14 assists, 20 factors

Professional: O’Reilly leads the Blues in factors this postseason … He has been a beast within the Stanley Cup Ultimate, singlehandedly outscoring the Bruins’ high line, 3-0, at even-strength … There isn’t a side of the Blues’ recreation that O’Reilly doesn’t contact as a key faceoff man and penalty killer … Set the tone in Sport 4, coming off a 7-2 loss, when he practically netted a hat trick – together with the primary objective 33 seconds after puck drop.

Conn: O’Reilly collected simply three targets earlier than the beginning of the Ultimate. He didn’t rating in any respect towards the Stars in Spherical 2 and simply as soon as towards the Sharks within the West Ultimate … His faceoff win proportion is below 50 per cent, which is considerably decrease than his common season (57) and profession (55) averages.

Quote: “Ryan O’Reilly came in and has been the consummate professional from Day 1. He taught Vladimir Tarasenko and every single player in that room to play the right way.” — Brett Hull


Proper Defence

Stats: 24 GP, 2 targets, 14 assists, 16 factors

Professional: Pietrangelo is the Blues’ darkish horse candidate. The captain has been St. Louis’ most constant defender, taking over all the large matchups … Pietrangelo has additionally contributed eight major assists, fired 71 pictures on internet, and has blocked 44 pictures within the postseason … Pietrangelo has averaged 25:43 of ice time … He has the identical variety of playoff factors as Tarasenko.

Conn: Pietrangelo has had an up-and-down Stanley Cup Ultimate. He additionally notably struggled towards the Sharks in Spherical 3.

Quote: “Going through what he went through this year, having triplets in the summer and then get off to a bad start, there was a lot on his plate. But he was able to put it all in its proper perspective and lead us at the most important time of the year.” — GM Doug Armstrong


Left Wing

Stats: 24 GP, 12 targets, 6 assists, 18 factors

Professional: Schwartz leads the Blues in targets … He’s the primary participant since Johan Franzen in 2008 to internet two hat methods in a single playoff run … Schwartz rebounded from a career-worst six per cent capturing season to almost 20 per cent within the playoffs … Schwartz’s game-winner with 16 seconds left in Sport 5 in Winnipeg in Spherical 1 setup his hat trick in Sport 6 that grounded the Jets … Ten of Schwartz’s 12 targets have come at even-strength.

Conn: Schwartz entered the Stanley Cup Ultimate because the Blues’ clear favorite for the Conn Smythe. He’s been held with no objective within the sequence – and 6 straight video games with no objective – shedding a number of the lustre on his candidacy.

Quote: “His shooting percentage was half his career norm. We talked about how it would eventually even out. Well, it never did in the regular season. But then came the playoffs.” — Schwartz’s agent, Rand Simon


Proper Wing

Stats: 24 GP, 11 targets, 5 assists, 16 factors

Professional: The Tarasenkshow has been at his greatest when it issues most, a real Russian Tank within the ultimate two rounds … Tarasenko has 11 factors in his final 11 video games, together with six targets … Tarasenko reeled off an eight-game level streak extending into Sport 2 of the Cup Ultimate … He has additionally been a bodily presence, laying large hits each on the forecheck and within the impartial zone.

Conn: Tarasenko was actually reasonably quiet for the primary half of the playoffs. Within the first two rounds, he netted 5 targets and 0 assists in 13 video games … At one level, coach Craig Berube stated Tarasenko wanted to “go out and get it” as an alternative of “waiting for it.”

Quote: “Ovechkin last year, Vladdy this year. Vladdy’s been a real good player for us in the playoffs. Not just the goals, but just his all-around effort and play without the puck. And his commitment to defence and being a physical player for us.” — Craig Berube

Contact Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @frank_seravalli

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