Super 16 Conn Smythe

The field for the Stanley Cup Playoffs is set with 16 teams all thinking they can do it, they can go on a run and they will be the last team standing at least two months from today.

And they're all ranked this week in the final Super 16 of the season.

They all have star power. They all have depth. And they all have under-the-radar candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy voted as the most valuable player of the playoffs.

Segue. Segue. Segue.

Yes, that's the theme for this final edition of the Super 16 power rankings this season: The top under-the-radar Conn Smythe Trophy candidate for each team.

We're not talking about a fourth line forward or third-pair defenseman. The players chosen are all impact players, top six forwards, top pair defensemen, even one No. 1 goalie, but they're not the obvious choices on each team, and that was the purpose of the exercise.

As a reminder, to come up with the Super 16 each week, the voters put together their own version of what they think the rankings should look like and a point total is assigned to each, with the team selected first given 16 points, second 15, third 14, and so on.

Here is the "They could win the Conn Smythe Trophy too" edition of the Super 16:

1. New York Rangers (55-23-4)

Total points: 202
Last week: No. 1

"Don't be surprised if defenseman Adam Fox wins the Conn Smythe should the Rangers take the Cup. He doesn't have the flair of forward Artemi Panarin or goalie Igor Shesterkin and may not be an emotional leader like forwards Vincent Trocheck and Chris Kreider, but he is certainly their most valuable player. He runs the power play, he scores, and he is their top defenseman. And wouldn't it be fitting that, 30 years after United States-born defenseman Brian Leetch won the Conn Smythe, another one wins it again for the Rangers?" -- Bill Price, Editor-in-Chief

2. Dallas Stars (52-21-9)

Total points: 198
Last week: No. 2

"Give me Wyatt Johnston as my upset special to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. He may not be the first name that jumps off the page when you're looking at the Stars roster, but Johnston had a great rookie season and is continuing to be a clutch player in his second season. Part of why I'm taking Johnston is what he did last year during the playoffs. He scored the series-clinching goal in both rounds the Stars advanced, Game 6 against the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round and Game 7 against the Seattle Kraken in the second. It doesn't get any more clutch than that." -- Tracey Myers, staff writer

3. Carolina Hurricanes (52-23-7)

Total points: 180
Last week: No. 3

"Seth Jarvis has flown a bit under the radar outside of Carolina, setting NHL career-highs of 33 goals, 34 assists and 67 points in 81 games. The 22-year-old appears primed to have a big playoff run and potentially win the Conn Smythe after totaling 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 29 games during his first two experiences in the NHL postseason. He's also had a knack for coming through in key moments. His nine game-winning goals are second on the Hurricanes behind Sebastian Aho's 10." -- Tom Gulitti, staff writer

4. Florida Panthers (52-24-6)

Total points: 161
Last week: No. 7

"I'm all-in on Carter Verhaeghe as my upset special playoff MVP candidate. How could one not appreciate his regular-season production (72 points; 34 goals, 38 assists) and what he gave the Panthers during their remarkable playoff run last season, when he had 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) and four game-winners, including two overtime goals, in 21 games. Said Panthers coach Paul Maurice when describing Verhaeghe's value to the power play: "We were trying to affix a word to describe him; he is not the catalyst, but he is the fixer." -- Mike G. Morreale, senior draft writer

burieTOR@FLA: Verhaeghe snaps his own rebound back into the net

5. Vancouver Canucks (50-22-9)

Total points: 150
Last week: No. 6

"The Canucks have a lot of obvious choices for pre-playoff Conn Smythe Trophy predictions, including defenseman Quinn Hughes, goalie Thatcher Demko, and forwards Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller. Brock Boeser maybe should be on that list too, but I've got to pick one here so I'm going to go with him. Despite being a 40-goal scorer, Boeser is not as obvious a choice as the other four I mentioned. He is, however, the Canucks' best goal-scorer and to win in the playoffs you have to score goals. It's kind of important. If Boeser scores, the Canucks have a chance to go on a deep run, especially if Hughes, Demko, Pettersson and Miller do their parts as well." -- Dan Rosen, senior writer

6. Winnipeg Jets (51-24-6)

Total points: 138
Last week: No. 9

"If the Jets win the Stanley Cup, they have plenty of candidates who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy: goalie Connor Hellebuyck, forwards Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor, defenseman Josh Morrissey. Let's not forget about captain Adam Lowry. He does it all for the Jets and is an underrated player in the League although not in Winnipeg, which is why he wears the 'C.' He's capable of shutting down opponents or scoring big goals and would be an off-the-board choice as playoffs MVP." -- David Satriano, staff writer

7. Boston Bruins (47-20-15)

Total points: 135
Last week: No. 4

"Given how dependent the Bruins are on goaltending and defense, I think the obvious candidate here for a surprise Conn Smythe would be Charlie McAvoy. The defenseman has grown into the Bruins' most important player at the position, one who can do it all and probably doesn't get the credit he deserves. In addition to his stalwart defending, McAvoy scored an NHL career-high 12 goals and had 47 points in 74 games. He averaged an NHL career-best 24:51 of ice time and can form a super-pairing with Hampus Lindholm. If the Bruins are going to go far, they'll need a lot from a lot of players, perhaps no one more than McAvoy." -- Amalie Benjamin, staff writer

8. Colorado Avalanche (49-25-7)

Total points: 119
Last week: No. 5

"Nathan MacKinnon should win the Hart Trophy and he will surely be a finalist, but the Avalanche legitimately have three MVPs on their roster, if not four, so for the sake of this exercise, I'm going off the board a touch and say it's defenseman Devon Toews. Yes, Cale Makar gets all the accolades on the blue line and rightly so, but Toews plays 23:28 per game, the workload of a No. 1 'D' on many teams. He has 49 points (12 goals, 37 assists), which is borderline elite, and is perhaps the most responsible defender in his own end. The majority of teams in this league would covet him as a No. 1 and here he gets to ride shotgun to Makar." -- Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

Toews on being dealt to the Avs early in his career

9. Edmonton Oilers (49-26-6)

Total points: 117
Last week: No. 8

"Edmonton is expected to be led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but another player who has Conn Smythe Trophy potential is Zach Hyman, a forward who scored an NHL career-high 54 goals. If Hyman can continue that production through the postseason, that could have a huge influence on Edmonton's Stanley Cup hopes. He has the potential to follow in the footsteps of the Oilers' last unsung playoff hero, Fernando Pisani, who scored 14 goals in the 2006 playoffs to help Edmonton get to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, a loss to the Hurricanes. McDavid and Draisaitl will get their points in the playoffs barring injury, but how far the Oilers go could depend very much on Hyman. If he can replicate what Pisani did in 2006, he has a chance of winning the Conn Smythe to top off an incredible season. -- Derek Van Diest, staff writer

10. Toronto Maple Leafs (46-26-10)

Total points: 90
Last week: No. 10

"So you're telling me I can't go with Auston Matthews? Got it. OK then. Can't go with Mitch Marner or William Nylander either? Hmm, OK. How about Ilya Samsonov? It's hard to say a goalie is an under-the-radar Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, but of all the goalies in the playoffs, Samsonov is probably the most under-the-radar MVP choice of them all. The Maple Leafs' goaltending is already being considered a weakness going into their first-round series against the Bruins, but Samsonov has delivered; he's 18-4-2 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in 24 games since Jan. 21. Samsonov will have to play a huge role for Toronto to go on a run and win the Cup for the first time since 1967. If that happens, he might go from underrated choice to favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy." -- Rosen

11. Nashville Predators (47-30-5)

Total points: 68
Last week: No. 12

"Ryan O'Reilly has already won the Conn Smythe Trophy, doing so with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. For the Predators, the top and obvious candidates are goalie Juuse Saros, defenseman Roman Josi and forward Filip Forsberg, which means O'Reilly becomes the only former postseason MVP to be in the running for an under-the-radar choice this season. He is because if the Predators are going to win their first Stanley Cup championship, O'Reilly will play a huge part in it. He's will have to win face-offs, kill penalties, dominate in the defensive end and, oh yeah, drive the offense and score. He's done it all season. He's fourth on the Predators with 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists). He played all 82 games. He won 53.9 percent of his face-offs. He played 19:46 per game, 1:49 on the penalty kill and 3:19 on the power play. O'Reilly is Nashville's jack of all trades, and a Stanley Cup run will have his fingerprints all over it, just like it did for the Blues five years ago." -- Rosen

12. Vegas Golden Knights (45-28-8)

Total points: 65
Last week: No. 13

"If Jonathan Marchessault and Jack Eichel are too obvious -- and Mark Stone is too uncertain, considering his comeback from a lacerated spleen -- how about William Karlsson? He scored 11 goals when Vegas won the Cup last season, tied with Stone for second on the Golden Knights behind Marchessault, the Conn Smythe winner. He has 30 goals this season, tied with Eichel for second behind Marchessault. Since the Golden Knights entered the NHL in 2017-18, Karlsson has 28 goals in the playoffs, 12th in the League." -- Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

COL@VGK: Karlsson evens score late in 3rd period

13. Tampa Bay Lightning (45-29-8)

Total points: 61
Last week: No. 11

"Nicholas Paul has had a career season in the NHL, setting NHL-bests in goals (24), assists (22) and points (46), and getting rewarded with 17:16 of ice time in 82 games, the most he's played during his nine NHL seasons. He's contributed on the power play (nine goals) and is one of the Lightning's most dependable players on face-offs. Paul doesn't get the attention some of the Tampa Bay's top-line superstar forwards like Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point receive, but his contributions can't be overlooked. During the playoffs, top lines and superstars tend to negate each other, so it's the secondary scoring options that tend to step up the biggest in big spots. If the Lightning can win the Stanley Cup for the third time in five seasons, Paul's play likely will be a big reason why." -- Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

14. Los Angeles Kings (43-27-11)

Total points: 37
Last week: No. 14

"Adrian Kempe is not quite the household name like Anze Kopitar or Drew Doughty, but he's no less capable of winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. He is tied with Kevin Fiala for the Kings lead in scoring (73 points) despite playing five fewer games. The unique thing that makes playoff MVP so different from other trophies is that you don't need to be great for six months. You need to be great for eight weeks when it matters most. Kempe has already produced in stretches. He's been held without a point in just four of his past 18 games (22 points; eight goals, 14 assists). If the Kings can somehow get past all the best teams in the Western Conference to even field a Conn Smythe candidate, the 27-year-old will have to be among them." -- Paul Strizhevsky, staff writer

15. New York Islanders (39-27-16)

Total points: 34
Last week: No. 15

"Semyon Varlamov may be the biggest reason for the Islanders' late-season surge into the playoffs, but I think Kyle Palmieri could be primed for big things this spring. The veteran forward equaled his NHL career-high of 30 goals he had for the New Jersey Devils in 2015-16, 11 coming in 20 games since March 10. Palmieri had five points (two goals, three assists) in six playoff games against the Hurricanes last season, and he scored seven goals during New York's run to the 2021 Eastern Conference Final. When Palmieri gets hot, look out." -- Brian Compton, managing editor

16. Washington Capitals (40-31-11)

Total points: 11
Last week: Unranked

"Although Dylan Strome led the Capitals with an NHL career-high 67 points (26 goals, 40 assists) during the regular season, the 27-year-old forward is often overshadowed by bigger names like forwards Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson, and defenseman John Carlson, or goalie Charlie Lindgren's heroics that carried them into the playoffs. It would not be surprising, though, to see Strome play a big role if the Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the second time. Strome has played eight seasons in the NHL and his only trip to the playoffs was with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2020, when the games were played with no fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He's been longing to get the full playoff experience, in front of fans, and will be determined to make the most of it." -- Gulitti

WSH@DET: Strome starts scoring in 2nd period

Others receiving points: Detroit Red Wings 1, St. Louis Blues 1

Dropped out: Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 16)

New Amsterdam Game of the Week

Each week, NHL.com will highlight one game that features two teams in the Super 16. In this edition, it's the No. 9 Oilers against the No. 8 Avalanche at Ball Arena on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNO, SNE, SN1).

The Oilers will find out if they're playing the Golden Knights or the Kings on Thursday. Either way, they're opening the Western Conference First Round at home. The Avalanche already know they're going to Winnipeg to play the Jets in the first round, so for Edmonton and Colorado this one final tune-up doesn't have much meaning other than playing for stats and pride. But it's significant for the Avalanche because they've got to get their game going again. They're 1-4-0 since the Oilers blew them out 6-2 in Edmonton on April 5. The last thing the Avalanche want, or need, is an extended slide going into Game 1 against the Jets.

HERE'S HOW WE RANKED 'EM

AMALIE BENJAMIN

1. Dallas Stars; 2. New York Rangers; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Colorado Avalanche; 5. Vancouver Canucks; 6. Florida Panthers; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Winnipeg Jets; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Vegas Golden Knights; 12. Nashville Predators; 13. Tampa Bay Lightning; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Washington Capitals

BRIAN COMPTON

1. New York Rangers; 2. Carolina Hurricanes; 3. Dallas Stars; 4. Winnipeg Jets; 5. Boston Bruins; 6. Vancouver Canucks; 7. Florida Panthers; 8. Colorado Avalanche; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Vegas Golden Knights; 12. Nashville Predators; 13. Tampa Bay Lightning; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Washington Capitals

NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Vancouver Canucks; 5. Florida Panthers; 6. Winnipeg Jets; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Colorado Avalanche; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Vegas Golden Knights; 12. Nashville Predators; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Tampa Bay Lightning; 15. New York Islanders; 16. St. Louis Blues

TOM GULITTI

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Vancouver Canucks; 5. Florida Panthers; 6. Winnipeg Jets; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Colorado Avalanche; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Vegas Golden Knights; 12. Tampa Bay Lightning; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Washington Capitals

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Vancouver Canucks; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. Carolina Hurricanes; 6. Winnipeg Jets; 7. Colorado Avalanche; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Boston Bruins; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Tampa Bay Lightning; 13. Vegas Golden Knights; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Washington Capitals

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. Dallas Stars; 2. New York Rangers; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. Vancouver Canucks; 6. Boston Bruins; 7. Winnipeg Jets; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Colorado Avalanche; 10. Vegas Golden Knights; 11. Tampa Bay Lightning; 12. Toronto Maple Leafs; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Washington Capitals

TRACEY MYERS

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. Vancouver Canucks; 6. Boston Bruins; 7. Winnipeg Jets; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Colorado Avalanche; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Vegas Golden Knights; 13. Tampa Bay Lightning; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Washington Capitals

BILL PRICE

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. Boston Bruins; 6. Vancouver Canucks; 7. Winnipeg Jets; 8. Colorado Avalanche; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Tampa Bay Lightning; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. Vegas Golden Knights; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Washington Capitals

SHAWN P. ROARKE

1. Dallas Stars; 2. Florida Panthers; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. New York Rangers; 5. Winnipeg Jets; 6. Colorado Avalanche; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Edmonton Oilers; 9. Nashville Predators; 10. Vancouver Canucks; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Vegas Golden Knights; 13. Tampa Bay Lightning; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Washington Capitals

DAN ROSEN

1. Dallas Stars; 2. New York Rangers; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Winnipeg Jets; 5. Florida Panthers; 6. Vancouver Canucks; 7. Edmonton Oilers; 8. Boston Bruins; 9. Colorado Avalanche; 10. Tampa Bay Lightning; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Vegas Golden Knights; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Washington Capitals

DAVID SATRIANO

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Colorado Avalanche; 5. Florida Panthers; 6. Vancouver Canucks; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Winnipeg Jets; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Tampa Bay Lightning; 12. Nashville Predators; 13. Los Angeles Kings; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Vegas Golden Knights; 16. Washington Capitals

PAUL STRIZHEVSKY

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Carolina Hurricanes; 4. Florida Panthers; 5. Vancouver Canucks; 6. Winnipeg Jets; 7. Edmonton Oilers; 8. Boston Bruins; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Colorado Avalanche; 11. Vegas Golden Knights; 12. New York Islanders; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. Tampa Bay Lightning; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Detroit Red Wings

DEREK VAN DIEST

1. New York Rangers; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. Carolina Hurricanes; 5. Florida Panthers; 6. Vancouver Canucks; 7. Edmonton Oilers; 8. Winnipeg Jets; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Colorado Avalanche; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Tampa Bay Lightning; 13. Vegas Golden Knights; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. Washington Capitals