Skip to main content
Conn Smythe Trophy

Erik Karlsson of Senators leading Conn Smythe Trophy race

Ottawa defenseman runaway choice for playoff MVP in NHL.com poll

NHL.com @NHL

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is the runaway leader in the Conn Smythe Trophy race, according to a panel of NHL.com writers.

Karlsson, who received 10 of 12 first-place votes and 33 voting points, leads defensemen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in 12 games. No defenseman remaining in the postseason averages more ice time per game than Karlsson (28:56). 

He is playing despite two hairline fractures in his left heel sustained before the playoffs started. Ottawa, which defeated the Boston Bruins in six games in the Eastern Conference First Round and the New York Rangers in six games in the second round, is in the conference final for the first time since 2007. The Senators play the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Game 1 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Karlsson buries Ryan's slick dish

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf was second with two first-place votes and 16 points. Getzlaf, the Ducks captain, is third in the playoffs with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists), behind center Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins (18 points) and forward Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers (16 points). Malkin is plus-9 and plays more per game (23:54) than any forward remaining in the postseason. Anaheim faces the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final on Friday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is third in the voting with 13 points. Among goaltenders to play at least five playoff games, Rinne leads in save percentage (.951) and goals-against average (1.37), and his two shutouts are tied for the playoff lead with Oilers goalie Cam Talbot. The Predators have reached the conference final for the first time.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who stepped in for No. 1 goalie Matt Murray at the start of the playoffs, received eight points. Malkin and Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, who has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 10 games, received one point each.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm7: Fleury shuts down Eller in close

The panel is comprised of 12 NHL.com staffers who have covered the first two rounds of the playoffs. Each voter selected three players, with the No. 1 player receiving three points, No. 2 getting two points and No. 3 getting one point.

The Conn Smythe Trophy will be awarded to the most valuable player of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the end of the Stanley Cup Final. It is voted on by a panel of Professional Hockey Writers' Association members.

 

Vote totals

Erik Karlsson, defenseman, Ottawa Senators -- 33 points (10 of 12 first-place votes)

Ryan Getzlaf, center, Anaheim Ducks -- 16 (2 of 12 first-place votes)

Pekka Rinne, goalie, Nashville Predators -- 13

Marc-Andre Fleury, goalie, Pittsburgh Penguins -- 8

Ryan Ellis, defenseman, Nashville Predators -- 1

Evgeni Malkin, center, Pittsburgh Penguins -- 1

 

Voters

 

Arpon Basu, LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Amalie Benjamin, NHL.com Staff Writer

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

 

Tim Campbell, NHL.com Staff Writer

1. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

3. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm5: Getzlaf nets slapper from the point

 

Brian Compton, NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

 

Nick Cotsonika, NHL.com Columnist

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

 

Matt Cubeta, Director of NHL.com International

1. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

2. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

Video: STL@NSH, Gm6: Rinne extends to snag Parayko's wrister

 

Lisa Dillman, NHL.com Staff Writer

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

 

Tom Gulitti, NHL.com Staff Writer

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

 

Mike Morreale, NHL.com Staff Writer

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

Video: NYR@OTT, Gm1: Karlsson nets tough shot for lead

 

Bill Price, NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Ryan Ellis, Nashville Predators

 

Dan Rosen, NHL.com Senior Writer

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

3. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Shawn Roarke, NHL.com Director of Editorial

1. Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

View More