How does Conn Smythe Trophy voting work?

The Conn Smythe Trophy is a prestigious award given to the best player in the Stanley Cup playoffs. How does the voting process work?
Vegas Golden Knights Victory Parade And Rally
Vegas Golden Knights Victory Parade And Rally / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Conn Smythe Trophy is a prestigious award handed to the best player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's awarded to the player who's helped his team win the world's most coveted prize (in most cases. See Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003 as the most recent exception). Last season's winner was none other than one of the "Original Misfits," Jonathan Marchessault.

Behind Marchessault's 13 goals and 12 assists, the beloved winger helped the Golden Knights win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Of course, there were other worthy candidates, including Jack Eichel (six goals, 20 assists in last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs) and Mark Stone (11 goals, 13 assists). However, the Quebec native earned his keep with timely goals and plays.

Now how does the voting process for the prestigious award work? Are random names pulled from a hat, with each player getting an additional slip for every point they score? Or is it based on a committee that watches every game, ensuring the rightful player takes home hockey's equivalent of the postseason MVP? Here's a look at the voting process, simplified into how it works and its history.

How the Conn Smythe Trophy winner is decided

The Conn Smythe Trophy winner is decided at the end of every Stanley Cup Playoff by members of the Professional Hockey Writer's Association. Every member votes to determine the best player in the postseason, with Jonathan Marchessault being the most recent winner. Vote tallies were first made public in 2017.

The NHL Commissioner (a.k.a. Gary Bettman) awards the trophy to the winner before the Stanley Cup is presented. What makes the award unique is that it's based on the player's performance throughout the playoffs. Compared to other sports like the NFL and NBA, which reward the winner with the MVP for the series, it adds extra incentive for NHL players to compete for the iconic title.

Three NHL players won both the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy during the same season in the same year. Those players are Bobby Orr (1970 and 1972), Guy Lafleur (1977), and Wayne Gretzky (1985). Players on the losing team have been awarded hockey's MVP title five times, with Giguere (2003 for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim) being the most recent. The player who's won hockey's MVP the most has been Patrick Roy (three times).

The trophy adds to the sport's uniqueness and mystique, with hockey fans wondering who can earn the title before the Stanley Cup Playoffs are close to concluding. It also taps into the NHL's deep history by honoring a player in the same realm as Gretzky, Orr, and Sidney Crosby. Imagine earning that title and having your name etched with those legends.