Connor McDavid could become latest losing playoff MVP if the Oilers don’t win the Cup

Which captain will be handed the Stanley Cup after Game 7 remains an open question.

It appears far more certain who will get the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP no matter if the Edmonton Oilers or Florida Panthers win the title Monday night.

Edmonton’s Connor McDavid is an overwhelming favorite to win the award, according to BetMGM Sportsbook, with minus-3000 odds, which equates to an implied probability of more than 96%. Florida’s Aleksander Barkov is next highest at plus-1400 with no other player listed with odds better than a extreme long shot at plus-10,000.

McDavid has already set a playoff record with 34 assists this postseason and his 42 points rank fourth best, trailing only two playoff runs by Wayne Gretzky (47 points in 1986 and 43 in 1988) and one by Mario Lemieux (44 in 1991).

McDavid became the first player ever to post back-to-back games of at least four points in the Stanley Cup Final to help Edmonton rally from 3-0 down to win Games 4 and 5.

Winning the Conn Smythe without winning the Cup, if it comes to that, is not unprecedented. Five players on losing teams have won the trophy since it was first awarded in 1965: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003 Mighty Ducks), Ron Hextall (1987 Flyers), Reggie Leach (1976 Flyers), Glenn Hall (1968 Blues) and Roger Crozier (1966 Red Wings).

The postseason MVP going to a non-champion is much more common on hockey, which hands the Conn Smythe to the MVP of the entire playoffs instead of just the final round as is done in the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.

It has happened once in the championship rounds in those three leagues.

FILE – Anaheim Mighty Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, right, receives the Conn Smythe hockey trophy from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, left, after the New Jersey Devils defeated the Ducks to win the Stanley Cup Final, June 9, 2003, in East Rutherford, N.J. Giguere is one of five players to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP despite not winning the Stanley Cup that season. (AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy, File)

Here’s a look at the losing team playoff MVPs:

NHL

Crozier

The Red Wings got into the playoffs in 1966 as the fourth seed in a six-team league but upset top-seeded Chicago in the first round thanks to Crozier allowing only six goals in the four wins.

Detroit then led Montreal two games to one in the Cup final before Crozier left Game 4 early with an injury. The Red Wings lost that game to tie the series. Crozier returned for the final two games but wasn’t sharp. The Canadiens won in six, but Crozier still got the MVP.

Hall

The 1968 playoffs were the first since the NHL expanded from six teams to 12. Hall dominated the expansion half of the bracket by leading the Blues to seven-game wins over Philadelphia and Minnesota, stopping 70 of 72 shots in those two clinchers.

Hall kept St. Louis close to the established Canadiens in the Cup final that featured four one-goal games and two that went to overtime. Hall stopped 140 of 151 shots in the four-game sweep by Montreal.

Leach

The Philadelphia forward is the only skater to win the award thanks to a remarkable scoring run throughout the postseason with a record 19 goals and five assists in 16 games.

He scored five goals in the semifinal clincher against Boston. He then scored four goals in four games of the Cup final against Montreal but the Canadiens still swept the series.

Jari Kurri tied his mark with 19 goals in 1985 but no one has surpassed it.

Hextall

The Flyers rookie went 15-11 with a .908 save percentage that postseason and nearly led Philadelphia over Gretzky and the high-powered Oilers in the Cup final.

He stopped 61 of 66 shots against one of the most dynamic teams in NHL history to get wins in Games 5 and 6. He stopped 40 more shots in game 7 but the Flyers ended up on the short end of a 3-1 score.

Giguere

The Ducks entered the playoffs that season as the seventh seed in the West but made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final thanks in large part to their goalie.

Giguere set the tone by stopping 63 of 64 shots in a triple-overtime win over Detroit to open the postseason. He then shut out Dallas once in the second round and had shutouts in the first three games of the conference final against Minnesota.

He added a fifth shutout against New Jersey in Game 4 of the final to improve to 7-0 in overtime that postseason. But he lost 3-0 in Game 7 and got the trophy in an awkward on-ice ceremony in New Jersey in front of the celebrating Devils fans.

NFL

Chuck Howley, Cowboys, Super Bowl 5

The Dallas linebacker nearly did it all in the team’s first Super Bowl appearance, intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble against the Baltimore Colts.

Howley ended up on the short end of the score when Jim O’Brien kicked a 32-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to give the Colts a 16-13 win in the title game following the 1970 season.

NBA

Jerry West, 1969 Lakers

The NBA first handed out a Finals MVP in 1969 and the brilliant West was a worthy winner in a losing cause. He scored 53 points in a Game 1 win against Boston and barely slowed down after that.

West averaged 37.9 points per game in the series — fifth most ever in a Finals — and topped 40 points four times in all in the seven games. He scored 42 points in Game 7 but came up on the losing end in a 108-106 game, marking the sixth time his Lakers lost to the Celtics in the Finals.

MLB

Bobby Richardson, 1960 Yankees

The Yankees dominated the Pirates on the scoreboard, outscoring Pittsburgh 55-27 over seven games but ended up on the losing end when Bill Mazeroski hit a series-ending homer off Ralph Terry in a 10-9 win to clinch it.

But it was New York’s second baseman who ended up with the MVP after batting .367 with one homer, five extra-base hits and a record 12 RBIs in the seven games.

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