Leon Draisaitl [1296x729]
Leon Draisaitl [1296x729] (Credit: Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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The Conn Smythe Trophy is unique in that a player's entire postseason performance is factored into who wins the Stanley Cup playoffs' most valuable player.

The first two rounds narrow the field and start defining narratives. The next two rounds are where legacies are made.

We asked close to two dozen potential voters and hockey media that have covered the playoffs for their top three players for postseason MVP. Those ballots were compiled to create this ranking. We attempted to have an equal number of Eastern and Western Conference media in the survey.

Here's a look at where the Conn Smythe race stands as the conference finals begin.

10. Sergei Bobrovsky G, Florida Panthers

"Playoff Bob" finished just ahead of Rangers center Vincent Trocheck for the final spot in the ranking. He saw his save percentage for the playoffs rise to .909 with his 23-save shutout win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers.

He's picking up some momentum for the Conn Smythe, with some key high-danger saves behind a dominant defensive team in front of him. "He gives us a lot of confidence back there," Matthew Tkachuk said after Game 1.

9. Connor McDavid C, Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers star just nudged Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to No. 10.

Only Connor McDavid could have 21 points in 12 games and have it considered a slight disappointment. But after 17 points in his first seven games of the playoffs (!), McDavid hasn't scored a goal in five straight games, fueling speculation that the Edmonton center is playing injured.

The idea that the Oilers could win a Game 7 on the road without a point from McDavid was previously inconceivable, but here we are. Still, given his point production overall, the potency of the Edmonton power play and the Stanley Cup being eight wins away, McDavid can't be counted out as a potential MVP.

8. Matthew Tkachuk LW, Florida Panthers

We were spoiled by Tkachuk last season, when it seemed like every Panthers win had some kind of heroic, clutch moment orchestrated by their star winger. It's been a different postseason for him so far: Although he led Florida with 14 points in 11 games entering the Eastern Conference finals, he had only one game-winning goal.

But coach Paul Maurice said he's been essential to their success, such as when he helped fill the void left by Sam Bennett's injury in the first round.

"He's more disciplined, he's matured with this group over two years," Maurice said. "I would never bet against him coming up with some heroics, but it's not the only thing we have to expect now from him."

7. Wyatt Johnston C, Dallas Stars

The 21-year-old forward leads the Stars with seven goals in 13 playoff games, to go along with four assists. He's given them considerable energy and big offensive moments, but he's also thrived as a defensive countermeasure: Johnston was matched against Nathan MacKinnon's line in the Stars' second-round series win over the Avalanche and MacKinnon produced two goals in six games.

He lives with Joe Pavelski. Pavs' playoff heroism has apparently rubbed off on him.

6. Miro Heiskanen D, Dallas Stars

While Johnston has been great, it's Heiskanen who actually leads the Stars in scoring this postseason, with 13 points in 13 games, including five goals. More impressive for Heiskanen is his work rate: 28:01 average time on ice per game, with the benefit of four overtime periods.

"I love to play a lot. It's fun being on the ice. It's a lot of minutes, but if you can manage it well and be smart with it, then it's fine," Heiskanen said. Defensemen have won two of the past four Conn Smythe trophies.

5. Aleksander Barkov C, Florida Panthers

Barkov already won some hardware this postseason, as he captured the Selke Trophy for the league's best defensive forward for the second time in his career. The Panthers center has five goals and eight assists in 11 games, a dominant force in both ends of the rink.

Barkov had three points in their elimination game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and his third-period tally in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins put Florida up 3-1 in the series and they didn't look back.

4. Jake Oettinger G, Dallas Stars

Oettinger was third among goalies who appeared in the second round with a .918 save percentage, and has been the backbone of the Stars' defense, allowing two goals or less in nine of 13 games.

But the Stars goalie actually was negative in goals-saved above expected (minus-1.8) per Stathletes -- so he still has room for improvement.

Oettinger entered the round as the favorite to win the Conn Smythe on ESPN BET, which speaks to his importance in trying to shut down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as well as the Stars' position as a Stanley Cup favorite.

3. Evan Bouchard D, Edmonton Oilers

Bouchard has been impressive in his two previous postseasons, including 17 points in 12 games last season. But the Oilers defenseman has been treated like a revelation during Edmonton's run to the conference finals.

Bouchard has 20 points, becoming the third defenseman in NHL history with 20 points through 12 games of a postseason. The other two are in the Hall of Fame: Paul Coffey and Brian Leetch. Bouchard has points in 10 of 12 games this postseason, including five points combined in Games 6 and 7 against Vancouver.

2. Igor Shesterkin G, New York Rangers

No player was mentioned on more ballots or received more first-place votes than the Rangers goalie. Shesterkin is second in the playoffs in save percentage (.923) and goals saved above expected (4.9), per Stathletes. He stopped 99 of 104 shots in back-to-back overtime games against the Hurricanes. The Rangers have had a lot of heroes in their run to the conference final, but it all starts with Shesty.

"We've got all the confidence in the world in him," Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. "Not much needs to be said to him. He just goes about his business every day. There's no one we'd rather have back there."

1. Leon Draisaitl C, Edmonton Oilers

With apologies to Bouchard and McDavid, no one has had a more impactful postseason for the Oilers than Draisaitl. He leads the team with 24 points. He's second to Zach Hyman (11 goals) with eight goals. He's played a 200-foot game, putting pucks in the net and blocking shots on the other end.

"It's harder to perform in the playoffs, and yet here he is elevating his game even more," Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. "I don't think he gets enough credit for the defensive part of it."