NHL Power Rankings: Heiskanen takes over top spot in Conn Smythe Watch
In this week’s Conn Smythe Trophy edition of the NHL Power Rankings we have a new name at the top.
Miro Heiskanen climbs into our No. 1 spot as he has helped the Stars jump out to a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Avalanche.
Heiskanen is driving an offense that has stunned everyone this postseason, while also being their go-to player defensively. He has made a noticeable impact in every phase of the game and has been one of the postseason’s most consistently impressive players.
The Stars are a win away from reaching the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2008, and Heiskanen’s rise to superstardom is one of the biggest reasons why.
Who else makes the list this week?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
1. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars. Already highly regarded coming into this season, his performance so far is not only putting him in the running for the Conn Smythe, it is also going to help make him one of the favorites for the 2020-21 Norris Trophy.
2. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are in a world of trouble against the Stars, but you can not blame MacKinnon. His play is one of the reasons why you should not immediately dismiss the possibility of a comeback. He has been the most dynamic offensive player in the playoffs and a constant force every single time he is on the ice. He has four goals and eight points through four games against Dallas.
3. Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights. His line, which also features Max Pacioretty and William Karlsson, is just steamrolling the Canucks right now. Stone is at the center of all of it. They paid a steep price to get him and made a huge financial commitment ($9.5M per year), but he is absolutely worth it.
4. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning. Point’s play is a big reason the Lightning have been able to overcome the absence of Steven Stamkos and keep winning. He has recorded at least one point in all but one of Tampa’s games, has three multi-point games, and two overtime goals. He may not be the biggest star in the lineup, but he is one of their most important players.
5. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, New York Islanders. What a pickup he has turned out to be. Pageau is a new name on this list and has really helped jumpstart the Islanders offense with seven goals. He has also played a huge role defensively for a team that has shut down and frustrated every star player it has faced.
[Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round schedule]
6. Shea Theodore, Vegas Golden Knights. Another new name this week, Theodore has been one of the most overlooked components to this Golden Knights team. He is one of their big-minute eaters on the blue line, helps drive possession, and has been a huge offensive driving force. Another of their expansion draft steals three years ago.
7. Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders. He has a .935 save percentage and two shutouts in his first 12 starts this postseason. The combination of their defensive play and his play in net has made every Islanders game seem like a “first goal wins” kind of event.
8. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks. If I had more confidence in the Canucks’ ability to come back I would have him higher because he has been one of the most impactful players in the playoffs. But I am having a hard time seeing the Vancouver being able to win three in a row against Vegas, which means Pettersson’s run might end this week.
9. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars. This postseason has been somewhat of an resurgence for Benn, and it is helping to drive the Stars’ offensive turnaround. They have been the best offensive team since the playoffs began, with Benn being especially hot over his past 10 games.
10. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning. Point’s performance has kind of overshadowed what Kucherov has been able to do, but he is still one of the main cogs in the Tampa machine. He has 10 points over the past five games, including eight points in the first four games against the Bruins.
NHL Power Rankings honorable mentions: Quinn Hughes (Canucks), Carter Hart (Flyers), David Krejci (Bruins), Josh Bailey (Islanders), Anthony Beauvillier (Islanders), Bo Horvat (Canucks).