Roundtable: Early Conn Smythe leaders, deadline busts and bests
SARAH KWAK: All the good goalies knocked out of the playoffs? I think both Henrik Lundqvist and Holtby might beg to differ. OK, so Lundqvist may be on the way out, but Holtby has been really underappreciated. The guy has been an absolute workhorse, playing 73 games this season and he’s put together a respectable .923 save percentage. Only Pekka Rinne (in 2011-12), Cam ’10-11) and Miikka Kiprusoff (’05-06) have had save rates as high with the same or heavier workload. But that said, my Conn Smythe pick so far would be Perry, just a shade over his buddy Ryan Getzlaf. I’d give it to both of them, if that were allowed. While facing the toughest matchups (relative, of course) every night, he’s still managed to score at a ridiculous 2.00 points per game clip. His fearlessness to drive into the scoring areas all the time makes Anaheim immensely tough to play against. There are a lot of really good centers who can control play through the neutral zone, but Perry’s willingness and effectiveness to bull in brings goals. Without a player like Perry, the Ducks aren’t as fearsome.
BLINN: I don’t really love the delay rule, but it’s a slippery slope. The rule has stopped players from intentionally flipping the puck out of play for a quick breather and there are already enough issues with referees making judgment calls (see: Kronwall, Niklas and Ovechkin, Alex). Let the players continue to be accountable and not delay the game in order to review video to decide if someone was trying to delay the game.
MUIR: Coburn’s definitely a case where the fancystats (a 37.2% Corsi) don’t accurately capture what he brings to the table. That said, Chris Stewart’s 38.2% Corsi does. He wasn’t terrible during the regular season (11 points in 20 games), but he was a total non-factor for the Wild when it mattered. In exchange for that second-round pick they gave up to the Sabres, he chipped in with two assists and nine shots in eight playoff games and was a possession black hole. Not a great way to enter unrestricted free agency. As for the best, at least someone you guys haven’t mentioned, how about Simon Despres? The Ducks acquired four players at the deadline and he’s the only one who is making a regular contribution, playing upwards of 18 minutes a night and bringing some balance to Anaheim’s back end. He’s been physical as expected, but he’s also contributed five assists in only seven games. There’s nothing fancy to that total, just a knack for getting pucks to the net. At this time of year, that’s an incredibly valuable skill. He’s been a nice add.
MUIR: I’ve flipflopped more often than Diamond Joe Quimby on this because it seems like every new detail that emerges seems to indicate the exact opposite of the one previous. So I have no earthly idea but my guess is that he’s wanted to explore his options all along, otherwise he would have re-upped a long time ago. There are plenty of new challenges out there. I think he’s just wants to see if there’s the “right” new challenge. Edmonton would be my first choice too, but since you took it Page I’m gonna go with St. Louis. Good competitive base in place that can contend for the Cup, plus he has a relationship with GM Doug Armstrong from Team Canada.