- Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar is a +180 favorite to win the 2022 Conn Smythe Trophy
- Andrei Vasilevskiy and Nikita Kucherov are the Lightning’s leading playoff MVP contenders at +400
- Colorado hosts Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, June 15 at 8pm ET
There are two important things to keep in mind before wagering on the Conn Smythe Trophy. First, unlike the NBA Finals MVP, this award goes to the player deemed most valuable to their club through the entirety of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Secondly, a guy on the losing team has been named postseason MVP only five times in 56 years, and not since Ducks goaltender J.S. Giguere won the honor in 2003.
With that in mind, let’s examine all the leading Conn Smythe contenders before puck drop of Avalanche vs. Lightning on Wednesday night. Here’s also where you can find the top betting sites for NHL hockey in 2022 and smart wagering tips in our 2022 Stanley Cup betting guide.
2022 Conn Smythe Trophy
|Cale Makar (COL)||+180|
|Nathan MacKinnon (COL)||+225|
|Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)||+400|
|Nikita Kucherov (TB)||+400|
|Steven Stamkos (TB)||+900|
|Micko Rantanen (COL)||+2000|
|Gabriel Landeskog (COL)||+2200|
|Victor Hedman (TB)||+2200|
|Ondrej Palat (TB)||+6600|
|Artturi Lehkonen (COL)||+10000|
|Brayden Point (TB)||+10000|
|Nazem Kadri (COL)||+10000|
|Valeri Nichushkin (COL)||+10000|
|Corey Perry (TB)||+15000|
Cale Maker opens as the favorite
Wayne Gretzky has been one of many NHL analysts to compare smooth-skating blueliner Cale Makar (+180) to Bruins legend Bobby Orr, saying he’s “the closest player we’ve ever seen that offensively and defensively can make an impact on the game that much.” With five goals and 17 assists in 14 games this postseason, the 23-year-old Norris contender leads all Avalanche players with 22 playoff points.
Nathan MacKinnon (+225) is tied for second with 11 playoff goals, only behind eliminated Edmonton forward Evander Kane. The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native scored the goal of the postseason in round two versus the Blues, and is the only Colorado player worth betting on aside from Makar.
NATHAN #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/BocrNo1NnB
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 26, 2022
Vasilevsky stands tall for Tampa
Andrei Vasilevskiy (+400) will likely win back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies if the Lightning upset the Avalanche to claim their third-straight Stanley Cup. While his goals-against average (2.28) and save percentage (.928) are a tick below what they were in Tampa’s 2020 and 2021 Cup runs, the 27-year-old has continued to stand tall when his team needed him most. Since the start of the 2019-20 postseason, Vasilevskiy is 11-5 with a .951 save percentage and six shutouts in 16 games where the Lightning have had a chance to eliminate an opponent.
Kucherov or Stamkos?
With 23 postseason points and counting, Nikita Kucherov (+400) is No. 1 among all Avalanche and Lightning players in scoring, but he’s unlikely to catch Connor’s McDavid (33) for the playoff lead. The Russian sniper has also done the majority of his damage as a set-up man with 16 assists.
Meanwhile, his teammate Steven Stamkos (+900) leads Tampa with nine playoff goals, including two in Saturday’s Game 6 closeout of the Rangers. It’s almost hard to believe neither of these superstars has won a Conn Smythe award – with defenseman Victor Hedman (+2200) winning in 2020, and the aforementioned Vasilevskiy in 2021.
With 2 goals tonight, Steven Stamkos now has 17 career goals in the Conference Finals/Semifinals, tied with his teammate Ondrej Palat for the most among all active NHL skaters. pic.twitter.com/yvnkUzB3Fw
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 12, 2022
If you firmly believe the Avalanche will win the franchise’s first Cup in two decades, Cale Makar is the smart bet at +180 with MacKinnon scheduled to see a heavy dose of Tampa’s lockdown center Anthony Cirelli.
However, if you think the Lightning will cement their dynasty with a third-straight Stanley Cup championship, Steven Stamkos is an incredible bet at +900. The 32-year-old captain has saved his best for the biggest moments this postseason and voters may be keen to reward the Lightning legend for an incredible run that has seen him score 522 goals in 1,033 career games with the franchise.
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