NHL Power Rankings: Heiskanen, Khudobin at top of Conn Smythe race

NHL Power Rankings
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It is time once again for another look at the race for the Conn Smythe Trophy in our latest NHL Power Rankings.

Now that the Stanley Cup Final is here and we get closer to getting a champion we will take a look at this race after every couple of games instead of once per week.

With the Stars entering Game 2 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN; livestream) on Monday night with the series lead it should be no surprise that they have two of the names at the very top of the list.

Who all makes the cut this week?

To the NHL Power Rankings!

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

1. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars. He has been the Stars’ best player from the opening face-off of the postseason. He is playing big minutes against the best players in the league, is not taking any penalties, keeps playing shut down defense, and is their leading scorers into the Stanley Cup Final (and one of the top scorers in the entire league). If the Stars win, it SHOULD be his award.

2. Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars. This is where Heiskanen will get a lot of competition, because Khudobin has become the talk of the league since the start of the Western Conference Final. And Conn Smythe voting tends to come down to the last two rounds of the playoffs. Khudobin is the biggest reason the Stars got through Vegas as quickly as they did in the Western Conference Final and he followed it up with another huge performance in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

3. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning. If the Lightning end up winning the series it’s going to be awfully difficult to give it to anyone else but him. He has been a monster offensively and come through in the clutch time after time for them, including a couple of overtime goals, assisting on an overtime goal, and just generally driving their entire offense.

4. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning. He does everything you want a No. 1 defenseman to do, and this postseason has been some of his best hockey. He enters Monday’s game with nine goals in 20 playoff games and is Tampa Bay’s ice-time leader by a significant margin. The forwards get most of the attention in Tampa Bay, but Hedman is the real cornerstone building block to this team.

[Lightning vs. Stars: 2020 Stanley Cup Final schedule]

5. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning. The leading point producer this postseason. The Point and Kucherov duo has been dominant all postseason and helped drive their offense in the absence of Steven Stamkos. They have been on the ice for nearly half of Tampa Bay’s goals in the playoffs.

6. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars. Benn deserves a ton of credit for the way he has played this postseason, because he has been great. He is producing like he did at his peak, he is scoring big goals, and he is just performing like a key top-line player. The problem he will have in the Conn Smythe race if the Stars win? Heiskanen and Khudobin are just so far ahead of him that it is tough to see him closing that gap. Heiskanen has been the best player from the start. Khudobin has been dominant at the most important position for the past seven games. That will be tough to overcome.

7. Alexander Radulov, Dallas Stars. He has flown under the radar a bit this postseason but he has been one of the Stars’ most productive players and has four game winning goals.

8. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning. He has played every minute of every game for the Lightning this postseason and done so at an extremely high level. There have been games where he has not been tested a ton, but when he has been he has been up to the challenge.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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