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  • Writer's pictureWyatt Bose

Win or lose the Stanley Cup Final, McDavid will win the Conn Smythe Trophy



The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs each year after the final game of the Stanley Cup Final. Hockey journalists from the Professional Hockey Writers Association vote for the recipient based on the entire Stanley Cup playoffs, not just the Stanley Cup Final. For this reason, there have been five instances in the history of the NHL where a player who did not win the Stanley Cup Final won the Conn Smythe Trophy. 


The Conn Smythe Trophy is unique to other sports’ MVP trophies, such as the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award or the Willie Mays World Series MVP Award, where the most valuable player on the championship team typically wins the trophy. In the NBA, Jerry West is the only player to win Finals MVP, despite losing the NBA Finals in 1969. West was also the first-ever recipient of the Finals MVP. Similarly, Yankees’ infielder Bobby Richardson is the only MLB player to win World Series MVP, despite losing the World Series in 1960.


Although the NHL awards the Conn Smythe Trophy based on the entire playoffs, it's rare for a player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy if their team loses the Stanley Cup Final. Oilers' captain Connor McDavid is the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, despite his Oilers trailing 3-2 in the series, because he's been that good this postseason.


In 23 playoff games, McDavid has 42 points: eight goals and 34 assists. He has eight points in the past two Stanley Cup Final games, and the Oilers have scored 13 goals in that span. Edmonton trailed 3-0 in this series, and a sweep seemed imminent after a heartbreaking Game 3 loss at home. Nevertheless, McDavid led the Oilers to an 8-1 victory in Game 4, and they have since been an entirely different team. McDavid would seemingly win the Conn Smythe Trophy, even if the Oilers lose tonight in Game 6.


McDavid’s ability is inimitable – his elite stick handling, pinpoint shot-making and assist delivery, and effortless speed distinguish him from everyone else. Often referred to as “McJesus,” the captain of the Oilers is on pace to set the Stanley Cup playoff record for most points in an individual playoff run. His 42 points trail former Oiler Wayne Gretzky’s 47 points in the 1984-85 season, and McDavid still has two games to play, given the Oilers win tonight at home.


The 27-year-old is already a human highlight reel, and he has the opportunity to make history in 2024. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have overcome a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final, and the Oilers are one win away from tying the series at 3-3. If McDavid were to win the Cup after trailing 3-0 and break Gretzky’s all-time points record in the same playoff run, he would be in the conversation for one of the greatest playoff performances of all time.


McDavid is going to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, win or lose, but he has his eyes on history these next two games. Oilers in 7?


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