Recent Conn Smythe Trophy winners
The Conn Smythe Trophy
Introduced in 1964, the Conn Smythe Trophy is given annually to the player judged most valuable to his team during that year's Stanley Cup playoffs. The award is named after Conn Smythe, a former owner, general manager and coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The trophy features an arena similar to Maple Leaf Gardens and a large maple leaf, both homages to Smythe's long-time team.
The first recepient of the award was Jean Beliveau of the 1965 Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens. Only five players have won the award more than once, and Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy is the only player to win it three times.
2014: Justin Williams - Los Angeles Kings
With his third Stanley Cup victory, Justin Williams of the Los Angeles Kings won his first Conn Smythe Trophy. Although he wears #14, seven may be his lucky number. In seven career game 7's, Williams has scored 7 goals and 7 assists, an NHL record, compiling a perfect 7-0 record. During the Kings 2014 playoff run, Williams had 25 points in 26 games, including the overtime winner in Game 1 of the finals.
2013: Patrick Kane - Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane led the Blackhawks to their second Stanley Cup in four years with 19 points in 23 games. He became the third straight American to win the award.
2012: Jonathan Quick - Los Angeles Kings
Quick finished the playoffs with a 16-4 record, 1.41 GAA and .945 save percentage. He led the postseason in every significant goaltending category - including shutouts (three) - and became just the third American player to win the Conn Smythe, joining Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch (1994) and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (2011).
2011: Tim Thomas - Boston Bruins
Thomas gave up just eight goals in seven games of the Cup finals against the Vancouver. Thomas, who set a new record for total saves in the postseason, is the oldest recipient at 37 and only the second American to win the award.
2010: Jonathan Toews - Chicago Blackhawks
Toews became the youngest captain in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy. Toews had three assists in the Cup finals to augment his 29 points overall (second only in the playoffs to Flyers' dark horse candidate, Danny Briere, who scored 30).
2009: Evgeni Malkin - Pittsburgh Penguins
Malkin's 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) were the most in any playoff season since Wayne Gretzky scored 40 in 1993. He became just the third European and first Russian to win the trophy.
2008: Henrik Zetterberg - Detroit Red Wings
Zetterberg scored 13 goals, tying a Red Wings record, and notched 14 assists during Detroit's playoff run. Four goals were game-winners, including the Cup-clincher in Game 6 of the finals against Pittsburgh.
2007: Scott Niedermayer - Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks' captain scored two game-winning goals during the 2007 playoffs. The defenseman also topped the team in total ice time, averaging 29:15 per game and leading an Anaheim defense that gave up just 2.02 goals per game.
2006: Cam Ward - Carolina Hurricanes
Ward became the first rookie netminder to take home playoff MVP honors since Philadelphia's Ron Hextall in 1987. After starting the playoffs as a backup, Ward set or tied numerous rookie playoff records, posting a 2.14 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage en route to Carolina's first Stanley Cup.
2004: Brad Richards - Tampa Bay Lightning
Richards scored 12 goals during Tampa Bay's Cup run, and his seven game-winners set a new NHL playoff record. Along with teammates Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, Richards was instrumental in leading the Lightning to their first-ever Stanley Cup.
2003: Jean-Sebastien Giguere - Anaheim Ducks
Giguere was sensational during Anaheim's surprising 2003 Cup run. His 63 saves in the first game of the playoffs against Detroit, a 2-1 triple-overtime win, set a record for a player in their playoff debut. Giguere would top the 60-save plateau again in a five-overtime second-round victory against Dallas.
After holding Minnesota to just one goal in a four-game sweep of the Western Conference finals, Giguere and the Ducks lost the Stanley Cup finals to New Jersey in seven games. Giguere became the fifth player ever to receive the trophy in a losing effort, and the first since Ron Hextall in 1987.
2002: Nicklas Lidstrom - Detroit Red Wings
The defenseman posted five goals and 11 assists during the playoffs and led the Red Wings in ice time, averaging 31:10 per game. Lidstrom was the first European and just second non-Canadian to win the award.
2001: Patrick Roy - Colorado Avalanche
In 2001, Roy became the only player to win the award three times, as well as the only one to do it with two different teams. The Colorado netminder posted a 1.70 goals-against average and .934 save percentage during the playoffs and was the goalie of record in all 16 of the Avalanche's playoff wins.
2000: Scott Stevens - New Jersey Devils
The hard-nosed New Jersey captain scored two game-winning goals during the Devils' Cup run. He was also crucial in his team's comeback victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference finals.
After winning Game 1, the Devils dropped the next three before winning Games 5 and 6 to force a deciding Game 7. Midway through the first period, Stevens leveled Flyers captain Eric Lindros with a vicious, clean hit, and knocked Lindros out of the game. The Devils rode the momentum all the way to a Stanley Cup.
1999: Joe Nieuwendyk - Dallas Stars
Nieuwendyk scored 11 playoff goals, and his six game-winners tied what was then a record. In Game 3 of the finals, the center scored both goals in Dallas' 2-1 victory over Buffalo, giving the Stars a 2-1 edge in the series and swinging the momentum in their favor.
1998: Steve Yzerman - Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit captain notched six goals and 18 assists as he led the Red Wings to their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
1997: Mike Vernon - Detroit Red Wings
Despite only playing in 33 regular-season games behind starter Chris Osgood, Vernon was named the Red Wings' top goalie for the 1997 playoffs. He responded by posting a 1.76 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Along with a stout Detroit defense, Vernon held the Philadelphia Flyers to just six goals total in a four-game finals sweep.
1996: Joe Sakic - Colorado Avalanche
Sakic scored an astounding 18 goals in the 1996 playoffs, one shy of the single-season playoff record. His six game-winning goals set the NHL postseason mark, and stood until Tampa Bay's Brad Richards scored seven game-winners in the 2004 playoffs.
1995: Claude Lemieux - New Jersey Devils
The usually gritty Lemieux led the league in playoff goals in 1995, lighting the lamp 13 times. His biggest goal of the postseason came in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Flyers. With less than a minute left in the game, Lemieux scored the game winner, silencing the Philadelphia crowd and giving the Devils a 3-2 series lead, which they never relinquished.
1994: Brian Leetch - New York Rangers
His leadership and defensive play led the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup since 1945. Leetch's +19 currently stands as the sixth-highest plus-minus rating for any single playoff season. The Connecticut native also became the first American to ever win the trophy.