Each day until the NHL Awards show June 24, The Gazette will run predictions of who will win certain awards, and who Angelo Stambene thinks should win the award.
Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the playoffs
The Conn Smythe is one of the most telling trophies in hockey. The winner shows that not only were they able to survive the rigors of the regular season, they were able to push themselves when mistakes end seasons. Many of the winners of the Conn Smythe are legends, such as Patrick Roy (only three-time winner), Mario Lemieux, Bernie Parent, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic.
Justin Williams (Los Angeles Kings) scored 25 points during the playoffs, which was good enough for second place, just a hair behind league leader and teammate Anze Kopitar’s 26. Williams is a 32-year-old veteran who has won three Stanley Cups (two with Los Angeles, one with Carolina), and has made a name for himself when the game is on the line. In seven Game 7s, Williams has 14 points with, you guessed it, seven goals and seven assists. Williams embodies the Kings’ never-surrender attitude, and is well deserving of his first Conn Symthe Trophy.
Should have won- Marian Gaborik (Los Angeles Kings) scored 14 goals during the Cup run, which was not only impressive, it was historic. Gaborik’s 14 goals is one less than Sidney Crosby scored during the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup victory in 2008-09, and was not topped again until Joe Sakic’s 18 goals in 1995-96. Considering the question marks that accompanied the Kings when Gaborik was brought in, his play not only paid off in dividends, but also should have earned him the Conn Smythe.