2022 Stanley Cup playoffs: Conn Smythe Watch as conference final round begins

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Defining "value" in the Stanley Cup playoffs can be challenging. Although apparently not as challenging as defining "possession" in the Western Conference finals, as Edmonton Oilers fans screaming about the NHL's offside rules after Game 1 will no doubt tell you.

For me, value in the playoffs is a combination of statistical achievement and seizing the moment. I'm not looking for compilers. I'm looking for players making magic when it counts the most. Or, failing that, putting on a performance that's so historic that it simply can't be ignored.

Here's where I think the MVP race stands for the final four teams, from the favorites to the runners-up to the sleepers to ... well, the players who should count their sweet blessings that someone else is picking up the slack.