As the Stanley Cup playoffs reach their second round, it's time to check in on the race for the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP.

Keep in mind that in the NHL, the Conn Smythe is based on a player's performance during the entire postseason, not just the championship round. The award is voted on by an 18-person panel of Professional Hockey Writers Association members.

Here's a look at some of the current leaders for MVP honors, as well as players on the cusp and some big names who have work to do in Round 2:

The favorites

Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers

With due respect to the supernatural talents of Connor McDavid, it was Draisaitl who had the greater impact in their six-game series win over the Los Angeles Kings.

He's tied with now-eliminated Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche for the playoff goals lead, with seven. He had points on three of their four goals in Game 2, bouncing back from the Kings' series-opening win. He led that three-goal comeback in Game 4 after the Oilers went down 3-0, tallying two goals and an assist. It's just nice to see Draisaitl reasonably healthy in this postseason after ending the Oilers' 2022 run to the conference final looking like he was being held together with tape and prayers.


Roope Hintz, C, Dallas Stars
Jake Oettinger, G, Dallas Stars

The Stars get two selections here because they wouldn't have ousted the Minnesota Wild without Hintz's offense or Oettinger's defense.

After Joe Pavelski was injured in Game 1, there were concerns about Dallas's overall goal scoring and whether the top line could still produce without its center. Hintz quieted those fears with a Game 2 hat trick and a four-point night. He had back-to-back three-assist efforts in Games 4 and 5 and then scored the first goal in their Game 6 elimination of the Wild. He leads the playoffs with 12 points.