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Top Conn Smythe Snubs Since 2000

Phil Kessel Pittsburgh Penguins

The Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy in all of sports. It is what players dream of. And when a team wins it all, the expression on their face says it all. They are living out their dreams. But another trophy is given out; the Conn Smythe Trophy. This award is given to the most valuable player of that respective team. In some cases the trophy goes to the player that did not deserve it the most, creating fun controversy amongst fans. Today we take a look at the top Conn Smythe snubs since 2000.

Top Conn Smythe Snubs Since 2000

Hockey has been around for almost a century. In addition to that, the Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy in all of sports. We take a dive into the more recent time period of players who were snubbed of being most valuable to their team, and there were definitely some players more deserving than the ones who won it.

Martin Brodeur- 2003

In most cases the team that wins the Stanley Cup has a player from that team win the award. But in 2003, that changed as Jean Sebastian Giguere went on to capture the prize despite losing in Game 7. Granted, Giguere was the MVP player for the underdog Anaheim Ducks. He had a 1.62 GAA, .945% save percentage, and five shutouts. His remarkable play was prior to the finals. He only allowed one goal to the Minnesota Wild, and only allowed six goals to the defending Champion Red Wings. This isn’t to take away from him, but it was an award that Martin Brodeur should have won.

Marty was just as sensational as his counterpart. It’s actually insane that the guy has never won the award or been looked at as the better goalie in the finals. Brodeur was lights out for the New Jersey Devils in this postseason. Brodeur owned a 1.65 GAA, .934% save percentage, and had seven shutouts. And of those seven shutouts, he shut out the Ducks three times including Game 7. No opponent in that playoff year averaged more than two goals against him.

Phil Kessel-2016

If there was one year for someone not named Sidney Crosby to win the award, it was this year. And for some reason, Crosby did end up winning the award. However, it was Phil Kessel who was the team’s best player in that cup run. Granted he had only three more points than Crosby but was still far more impactful. Yes, the award is handed out based on playoff performance, but if you dive down years prior, the guys that won factored in the finals. Crosby did not have a goal in the finals, But Kessel had one goal and four points. Kessel also went on to lead the team in goals (10), including five on the powerplay. Think about it like this; if Crosby led the team in points and in goals would he have won unanimously? If the answer is yes then the award should have gone to Kessel, who led the team in goals as well as points (four ahead of both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin).

Corey Crawford-2013

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For two years in a row, it was a goaltender who took the Conn Smythe Trophy. In 2011 it was Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, followed by Jonathan Quick in 2012 who arguably had the best postseason run for a goaltender with the Los Angeles Kings. It seemed like fate that a goaltender would’ve won the award, but instead, it went to Patrick Kane. Kane was very good for the Chicago Blackhawks in that run. As deep as the team was, he did lead the team in points and potted two game-winners, and three goals in the finals. But for that season, Corey Crawford should have won the award.

Crawford started all 23 playoff games for the team and went 16-7. Even more impressive were his numbers. He posted a 1.84 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Crawford had better numbers than the man he faced in Tuukka Rask and ranked fourth in goals saved above expected (5.5). In the finals alone, he had a 2.01 GAA and a .925% save percentage. As great as Kane was, Crawford was better. Throughout the playoffs his goals-against averages were spectacular (1.32, 2.00, and 1.82). And as talented as Chicago was that season, Crawford was the backbone and was worthy of the award.

Joe Sakic-2001

2001 was a magical year for the Colorado Avalanche. “And after 22 years, RAYMOND BOURQUE” still rings in my ears when I think of this team. With how loaded they were, you could pick a name out of a hat and the award would have been exceptional. Patrick Roy won the award that season, and stood on his head for the final two games, allowing only one goal in the final two games. His numbers were solid even in the finals. But one player who got snubbed of the Conn Smythe was captain Joe Sakic.

Sakic went on to lead the team in goals (13) and points (26). He was a machine on the power play recording 13 points and was just sensational offensively. In addition, he had the most game-winning goals among all players that suited up for that postseason run. On top of all that he was a monster in the finals. He went on to score four goals, five assists, and nine points. One of his goals was the game-winner. All of this was highlighted by a multi-point Game 7, helping deliver that victory. Roy was not necessarily the wrong choice, but Sakic was more deserving.

Rod Brind’Amour-2006

The fifth and final of the top Conn Smythe snubs since 2000 may come as a surprise. Who would’ve thought a young kid who had only 25 games under his belt would come in and help deliver a Stanley Cup? But that’s what happened, and it was an excellent story for Cam Ward and the franchise. Ward played good hockey, posting a 2.14 GAA and a .920 save percentage. The wild thing is all the goalies that won it before him had a goals-against average below 2.00. Don’t get me wrong without Ward you may wonder to the Carolina Hurricanes even win it all, but the snub was their captain Rod Brind’Amour.

Brind’Amour did everything you could ask for as a captain. From winning faceoffs to killing penalties, and shutting down the opponents’ top line. He finished third in points, but he did lead the team in goals (12). Six of his goals came on the power play (second on the team) and he had four game-winning goals (led the team). Three of his goals came in the finals. Young Eric Staal may have been the best player on the team, but the captain deserved a lot of praise. Nothing against Ward either, but Brind’Amour made just as much of an impact.

Final Thoughts

The top Conn Smythe snubs from 2000 until this point is complete. In my opinion, the guys who did win the trophy were deserving for the most part, but the players above have their case as to why they got snubbed. The Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, but it is also an honour to win the Conn Smythe. May another winner be upon us this year, and maybe another snub will be added to the list.

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