The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded annually to the “player judged most valuable to his team during the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs” and is selected by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the conclusion of the deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals. The current holder of the trophy is Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks. Only three players have been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy (for most valuable player during the regular season) in the same year: the Boston Bruins’ Bobby Orr in 1970 and 1972, the Montreal Canadiens’ Guy Lafleur in 1977 and the Edmonton Oilers’ Wayne Gretzky in 1985.
But where does that leave us, the Washington Capitals fans? Cold and alone? No! Rock the Red has decided to nominate members of the Washington Capitals’ roster for each of the NHL’s awards, and pick a winner accordingly. The best part is you don’t even have to wait until the last game of the Stanley Cup playoffs to find out who wins! The incumbent Caps’ Conn Smythe holder is John Carlson.
In alphabetical order:
Marcus Johansson 9 games played, 2 goals, 6 points, -2, 18:22 TOI/G
Johansson, a rookie, took the ice looking confident and eager to make his playoff debut. He finished the postseason with 6 points, typing him for 3rd on the Capitals roster and ranking him 4th overall in postseason scoring among NHL rookies. He was able to string together a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists) during the post season. In his 9 games played, MoJo did not record a single penalty, yet finished with a team-low 41.0 FO%. His two-goal game of ECQF Game 4 helped propel the Capitals to victory after falling to a 3 goal deficit against the Rangers.
Brooks Laich 9 games played, 1 goal, 7 points, Even, 21:54 TOI/G
Laich was able to contribute to every aspect of the Caps’ postseason run. He spend time on the top three lines, leading the teams’ forwards on number of shifts taken. He spent time on the penalty kill (leading all forwards in SH TOI) and the Power Play, showcasing his excellent two-way playing ability. #21 helped any way he could adding shots (21), hits (9), blocked shots (10), owning the face off circle (winning 55.4% of his draws), strong checking and creating offensive opportunities for himself and his line mates- setting a career best in post-season assists.
Michal Neuvirth 9 games played, 4-5 record, 2.34 GAA, .912 Sv %, 589:56 TOI
Neuvi was one of the sole bright spots in the Capitals post season series, looking right at home after taking the Bears to back-to-back Calder Cup championships. In his first season playing solely in the NHL, Neuvirth kept the Caps in several games making highlight reel saves. Of goaltenders playing more than 2 games, he finished ranked 7th in GAA and 10th in Sv % for the postseason. #30 recorded his first career playoff shutout, making 22 saves in Game 2 against the Rangers, becoming the third Caps rookie to earn a shutout in the postseason (Mason, Varlamov). Neuvirth’s showing made his pre-season re-signing look brilliant as he made a strong case that he’s the Number One in the net in future seasons.
Honorable Mention: Alex Ovechkin 9 games played, 5 goals, 10 points, -1, 23:30 TOI/G
And your winner, pretending that the Washington Capitals are the only team in the NHL, and we are the sole voters in the PHWA (drum roll, please): Michal Neuvirth!