With the Los Angeles Kings on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup with a 3-0 series lead over the New York Rangers, the debate has begun as to whom should win the Conn Smythe Trophy for this year's playoffs.
Unlike in 2012 when the Kings last won the Cup, there is no obvious choice for the most valuable player in the playoffs. That year, goaltender Jonathan Quick posted a 16-4 record with a .946 save percentage, 1.41 goals-against-average and three shutouts en route to winning the award.
Quick is again a candidate to win this year, however he may not be the favourite.
In 24 playoff games, Quick has a 15-9 record, a .910 save percentage and 2.69 goals against average. He also has two shutouts in the playoffs, including one against the Rangers in Game 3.
The Kings have used a high-scoring offence to get within a game of winning the Stanley Cup this season. Their 84 goals in the playoffs are 24 more than the next-best Rangers.
Leading the way on offence is Anze Kopitar, who leads in scoring with 26 points in 24 playoff games. Kopitar's 21 assists in this year's run sits second in Kings history, behind only Wayne Gretzky's 25 helpers in 1993. However, Kopitar has just five goals, while nine of his assists have come on Marion Gaborik goals.
Gaborik, acquired by the Kings on trade deadline day from the Columbus Blue Jackets, leads the playoffs in goals with 13. His finest game of the playoffs came in the second round against the Anaheim Ducks, when he scored with seven seconds left in regulation to tie the game and scored again in overtime to take the series opener.
"Mr. Game 7," Justin Williams, also has an overtime winner on his playoff resume this year. Williams scored to lift the Kings over the Rangers in Game 1 -- one of eight goals he's scored in the playoffs. An emotional leader for the team, Williams is tied for second in playoff scoring with 24 points and leads the team with a plus-14 rating. He also has six points through three Stanley Cup Final games.
Tied with Williams at 24 points is forward Jeff Carter, who played a similar role to Gaborik in 2012 after being acquired mid-season from the Blue Jackets. Carter has 10 goals in these playoffs, including a team-high four on the power play. However, hurting Carter's campaign is his plus-five rating.
If any defenceman is to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Kings, it would likely be Drew Doughty, who leads the Kings' blue line with 17 points and has been their top defenceman throughout the playoffs, averaging over 28 minutes of ice-time per game.
With multiple options available, the Conn Smythe Trophy debate may come down to the Kings' final victory.
Until then, who do you believe will be named the most valuable player should the Kings defeat the Rangers?
As always, it's Your! Call.