Erik Karlsson received a Conn Smythe vote despite not playing in Final

Getty
11 Comments

For the second year in a row Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP.

Between him, Evgeni Malkin (the NHL’s leading scorer this postseason) and rookie Jake Guentzel (leading goal scorer) the Penguins had no shortage of candidates to take home the award.

On Monday, the NHLPA revealed the final vote tally and showed just how easily Crosby won the award, receiving 11 of the 15 first votes.

Malkin received three while Guentzel received one.

Here are the final vote totals…

Notice an interesting name on that list?

You should, and it is Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson receiving one third place vote even though his team did not make it to the Stanley Cup Final. It’s not uncommon for a member of the losing team in the Final to get a vote (P.K. Subban received one). A member of the losing team has actually won the award five times, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere most recently taking it for the Anaheim Ducks in 2003.

But for a player that didn’t even make it to the Final to get a vote is pretty incredible. Given what Karlsson did for the Senators this postseason it is a completely justified vote.

After all, the award is given to the player that is “most valuable to his team” in the playoffs, and Karlsson certainly fits that description. He was arguably the best player on the ice in nearly every game he played and was perhaps the single biggest reason the Senators were a double overtime loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final. He was the team’s leading scorer with 18 points, played more than 28 minutes per game, and was simply dominant during the team’s playoff run. He did all of that while playing through a fracture in his foot. Without him the Senators do not make it anywhere near as far as they did.