The Conn Smythe Trophy (French: Trophée Conn Smythe) is awarded annually to the most valuable player (MVP) of his team during the National Hockey League's (NHL) Stanley Cup playoffs. It is named after Conn Smythe, the longtime owner, general manager, and head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Conn Smythe Trophy has been awarded 54 times to 47 players since the 1964–65 NHL season. Each year, at the conclusion of the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals, members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association vote to elect the player deserving of the trophy. The trophy is handed out by the NHL Commissioner before the presentation of the Stanley Cup and only the winner is announced, in contrast to most of the other NHL awards which name three finalists and are presented at a ceremony. Vote tallies for the Conn Smythe Trophy were released starting in 2017.[2]

Conn Smythe Trophy
SportIce hockey
LeagueNational Hockey League
Awarded for"Most valuable player for his team" in the Stanley Cup Playoffs[1]
First award1964–65 NHL season
First winnerJean Beliveau
Most winsPatrick Roy (3)
Most recentJonathan Marchessault
Vegas Golden Knights

Unlike the playoff MVP awards presented in the other major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada (the Super Bowl MVP, the NBA Finals MVP, the MLS Cup MVP and the World Series MVP), the Conn Smythe is based on a player's performance during the entire NHL postseason instead of just the championship game or series.

The most recent winner is Jonathan Marchessault.[3]

History edit

The Conn Smythe Trophy was introduced in 1964 by Maple Leaf Gardens Limited to honour Conn Smythe, the former owner, general manager and coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder.[1] The centrepiece of the trophy is a stylized silver replica of Maple Leaf Gardens, the arena built under Smythe's ownership of the Maple Leafs, and their home from 1931 to 1999. Backing the arena replica is a large silver botanically accurate maple leaf. The arena replica and leaf are set atop a square wooden foundation, the front of which bears a dedication plaque. Additional tiers below the foundation, sloping outward, contain maple leaf-shaped plates bearing the inscriptions of the winners' names.[4]

The base of the Conn Smythe Trophy has been expanded twice over the years to accommodate more winners. Although the 16 nameplates on the original base tier were filled up after 1980, a new tier was not added until the 1983–84 season. Following the 2000 Stanley Cup playoffs, the 20 nameplates on the new tier were filled, so the first nine winners' nameplates were moved up to the remaining three sides of the foundation tier. The remaining nameplates were shifted accordingly to keep the winners in chronological order. Due to the cancellation of the 2004–05 season, the trophy was not filled again until 2010, after which a new tier was added, making room for 24 more names.

The first winner of the trophy was centre Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens in 1965. The first player and only defenseman to win it twice was Bobby Orr, who scored the Cup-clinching goals for the Boston Bruins in 1970 and 1972. Goaltender Bernie Parent (for the Philadelphia Flyers) and centres Wayne Gretzky (for the Edmonton Oilers), Mario Lemieux, and Sidney Crosby (for the Pittsburgh Penguins) have also won it twice each, with Parent, Lemieux, and Crosby each winning theirs back to back (1974/1975, 1991/1992, and 2016/2017 respectively). Goaltender Patrick Roy is the only three-time Smythe winner and the only player to win the trophy as a member of two different teams (with the Canadiens in 1986 and 1993, and with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001); his wins also fall into three different decades. Ken Dryden, the 1971 Smythe winner, is the only NHL player to win this trophy before winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year (in 1972): Montreal called him up to play only six regular season games, which is not enough to qualify as a rookie season. Dave Keon is the only Maple Leafs player to win the trophy donated by his club's parent company, while his eight playoff points in 1967 is the fewest ever by a non-goalie Conn Smythe winner as he was a defensive forward.

Though the trophy rewards a player who performed particularly well over the entirety of the playoffs, it has never been given to a player whose team did not at least reach the Stanley Cup Finals. The trophy has been awarded to members of the team that lost the Finals five times, most recently Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003, who backstopped his team's surprise run to the Finals, where they pushed the New Jersey Devils to seven games. The only skater to win the award while his team lost the final round is Philadelphia's Reggie Leach, who won it in 1976 as he had set a league record for most goals in the playoffs (19), which included a five-goal game in the semifinals and four goals in the Finals, even though the Canadiens swept his Flyers.[5]

Ten players born outside of Canada have won the Conn Smythe Trophy. The non-Canadian winners are Americans Brian Leetch, who won it in 1994, Tim Thomas in 2011, Jonathan Quick in 2012, and Patrick Kane in 2013; Russians Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Andrei Vasilevskiy who won it in 2009, 2018 and 2021, respectively; and Swedes Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Victor Hedman, who won it in 2002, 2008 and 2020, respectively.

Three players have won the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player during the regular season in the same year: Orr in 1970 and 1972, Guy Lafleur in 1977, and Wayne Gretzky in 1985. These three players also won the Art Ross Trophy, having scored more points than any other player during the regular season (Orr only in 1970), while Orr also won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as top defenceman to give him a record four individual original NHL awards in 1970.[1][6]

As of 2023, the Conn Smythe Trophy has been awarded to centers 19 times, to goaltenders 17 times, to defencemen 12 times, and to right wingers eight times, while the only left wingers to have won the award are Bob Gainey of Montreal in 1979 and Alexander Ovechkin of Washington in 2018. Players with the Montreal Canadiens have received the most Conn Smythe Trophies with nine. Players with the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins have each received five, and the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, and New York Islanders have each received four.

Winners edit

Positions key
C Centre
LW Left wing
D Defence
RW Right wing
G Goaltender
  Player is still active in the NHL (‡)
  Player was a member of the defeated team in the Stanley Cup Finals (§)
Conn Smythe Trophy winners
Year Winner Team Position Win #
1965 Jean Beliveau Montreal Canadiens C 1
1966 Roger Crozier Detroit Red Wings§ G 1
1967 Dave Keon Toronto Maple Leafs C 1
1968 Glenn Hall St. Louis Blues§ G 1
1969 Serge Savard Montreal Canadiens D 1
1970 Bobby Orr Boston Bruins D 1
1971 Ken Dryden Montreal Canadiens G 1
1972 Bobby Orr Boston Bruins D 2
1973 Yvan Cournoyer Montreal Canadiens RW 1
1974 Bernie Parent Philadelphia Flyers G 1
1975 2
1976 Reggie Leach Philadelphia Flyers§ RW 1
1977 Guy Lafleur Montreal Canadiens RW 1
1978 Larry Robinson D 1
1979 Bob Gainey LW 1
1980 Bryan Trottier New York Islanders C 1
1981 Butch Goring C 1
1982 Mike Bossy RW 1
1983 Billy Smith G 1
1984 Mark Messier Edmonton Oilers C 1
1985 Wayne Gretzky 1
1986 Patrick Roy Montreal Canadiens G 1
1987 Ron Hextall Philadelphia Flyers§ G 1
1988 Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers C 2
1989 Al MacInnis Calgary Flames D 1
1990 Bill Ranford Edmonton Oilers G 1
1991 Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh Penguins C 1
1992 C 2
1993 Patrick Roy Montreal Canadiens G 2
1994 Brian Leetch New York Rangers D 1
1995 Claude Lemieux New Jersey Devils RW 1
1996 Joe Sakic Colorado Avalanche C 1
1997 Mike Vernon Detroit Red Wings G 1
1998 Steve Yzerman C 1
1999 Joe Nieuwendyk Dallas Stars C 1
2000 Scott Stevens New Jersey Devils D 1
2001 Patrick Roy Colorado Avalanche G 3
2002 Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings D 1
2003 Jean-Sebastien Giguere Mighty Ducks of Anaheim§ G 1
2004 Brad Richards Tampa Bay Lightning C 1
2006 Cam Ward Carolina Hurricanes G 1
2007 Scott Niedermayer Anaheim Ducks D 1
2008 Henrik Zetterberg Detroit Red Wings C 1
2009 Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins C 1
2010 Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks C 1
2011 Tim Thomas Boston Bruins G 1
2012 Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings G 1
2013 Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks RW 1
2014 Justin Williams Los Angeles Kings RW 1
2015 Duncan Keith Chicago Blackhawks D 1
2016 Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins C 1
2017 2
2018 Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals LW 1
2019 Ryan O'Reilly St. Louis Blues C 1
2020 Victor Hedman Tampa Bay Lightning D 1
2021 Andrei Vasilevskiy G 1
2022 Cale Makar Colorado Avalanche D 1
2023 Jonathan Marchessault Vegas Golden Knights RW 1
  1. ^ No winner due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout

By position edit

Conn Smythe Trophy winners by position

Position Total
Centre 19
Goaltender 17
Defenceman 12
Winger 10

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Conn Smythe Trophy". National Hockey League. Archived from the original on May 16, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
  2. ^ "Avalanche's Cale Makar wins Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP". Archived from the original on 2022-06-27. Retrieved 2022-06-27.
  3. ^ "Knights' Marchessault takes home Conn Smythe". 2023-06-14. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  4. ^ "Conn Smythe Trophy History". Hockey Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Reggie Joseph Leach". Legends of Hockey. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "Hart Memorial Trophy". National Hockey League. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved August 17, 2007.