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NHL · 5 months ago

Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting: 4 Conn Smythe Candidates

Grant White

Grant White

Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting: 4 Conn Smythe Candidates

It’s been an unsuspecting ride, but we’re down to the final four in the NHL. The conference finals are set to begin on Thursday when the Carolina Hurricanes host the Florida Panthers. Then, the Dallas Stars travel to take on the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, kicking off the other half of the bracket. With only a handful of teams left in the running for hockey’s Holy Grail, the Stanley Cup futures market is watered down. 

Nevertheless, there is untapped potential in the Conny Smythe futures betting, as four evenly matched teams compete for the ultimate prize. 

We’re running through the top player worth backing from each team.

Carolina Hurricanes – Frederik Andersen +950

Depth scoring is one of the most critical components of postseason success, but it also makes it challenging to distinguish which player is the most valuable to his team. So far this postseason, the Hurricanes have 11 players with at least six points, with Jordan Martinook leading the way with ten. What’s easier to differentiate is the value Frederik Andersen brings every time he steps onto the ice.

The Canes’ netminder has been a stalwart since returning to the blue paint. Andersen is a perfect 5-0, with a 1.80 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Andrei Vasilevskiy was the last goalie to take home the award, doing so with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Before him, Jonathan Quick claimed the Conn Smythe with benchmarks of 1.41 and .946. 

Andersen is setting the standard between the pipes this postseason. It’s just a matter of time before he gets more credit for the Hurricanes’ success. 

Florida Panthers – Sergei Bobrovsky +1000

Matthew Tkachuk gets a lot of credit for the Panthers’ success, and rightfully so. The former sixth-overall selection leads Florida in points and assists, posting a +10 rating while defeating the President Trophy-winning Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs. However, for the Panthers to get past the Hurricanes, Florida will need Sergei Bobrovsky to be at his best. 

Bobrovsky is already over-achieving relative to regular season metrics, a standard he must maintain to clinch a berth in the finals. The two-time Vezina winner has a .918 save percentage in the playoffs, with a .920 benchmark or better in four of his past five. 

Florida’s offense will face a new challenge getting past the Canes’ stingy defense. If they emerge as Eastern Conference Champions, surely Bobrovsky will have had a hand in the series win, elevating his stock as a top Conn Smythe contender.

Vegas Golden Knights – Chandler Stephenson +2500

The temptation is to add Jack Eichel from the Golden Knights, but we’re going with a true steal in Chandler Stephenson. Arguably, Stephenson has been more impactful through the opening two rounds of the playoffs and is tied with Eichel for the team lead in goals. Stephenson separates himself from his teammate with more robust metrics at five-on-five and a two-way game that will be emphasized over the next few weeks.

Just two of Stephenson’s ten points have come on the powerplay, with the bulk of his scoring coming at five-on-five. Even more impressively, the former Stanley Cup winner has achieved this offensive success while being deployed as a shutdown center. Most of Stephenson’s time is spent in the defensive zone, neutralizing opponents’ top players.

Still, the Knights’ third-line center has two game-winning goals through the first two rounds and will continue to shine against the Stars.

Dallas Stars – Roope Hintz +1100

The second-leading goal scorer in the playoffs has suspiciously low odds in the Conn Smythe futures market. Roope Hintz is four goals shy of Leon Draisaitl for the postseason lead but comes in seventh on the FanDuel Sportsbook futures board at +1100. Hintz should remain a primary contributor against the Golden Knights.

Analytically, Hintz is a gem. The former second-round pick leads the Stars with a jaw-dropping 68.5% expected goals-for rating. Moreover, that metric is the best in the league among all players who have played more than 80 minutes at five-on-five. 

Hintz is monopolizing his time in the attacking zone, yielding exceptional results through the first two rounds. We’re anticipating ongoing success from the Finnish forward and are backing him as our preferred Stars’ player to win the award.