As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for. At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers by Gabbi
This might seem like a homer-analysis to some and that’s fine. But from a statistical standpoint, Henrik Lundqvist was left out of the running for the top goaltender in the league. Yet again. Of course, this year, Tim Thomas is an essential lock for the trophy. So why not throw Lundqvist a bone and give him a nomination? In his 6 seasons as an NHL starter, he has been nominated in his first three seasons of play, and has never won. He’s currently the only goaltender in NHL history to have 30 or more wins in his first 6 seasons of play (he held the record for 5 and shared the record of 4 with Ron Hextall). This season, he was 36-27-5 with a 2.28 Goals Against Average and a .923 Save percentage. Comparatively, his GAA was 7th best in the league, his save % 8th, Wins 8th, and lead the league in shutouts with 11. (He was also #4 in the league with shootout wins.) King Henrik should have been recognized for his efforts in New York as their team MVP and have been given a Vezina nomination.
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks by Joey
Though considered a bit of a long shot, Roberto Luongo should garner more of your thought, attention, and votes for the Vezina this season. Like the fine wine adage, he only gets better with age as he has set personal bests in goals against (2.11 GAA) and his best save percentage (.928) since joining Vancouver. Though there is a few standout netminders that have even better statistics, its more than simply a numbers game. As solid of defense as Vancouver has, it’s not like Luongo only faced 20 shots a night and had tea and crumpets in the goal crease most games. Quite often he more than kept his team in games providing his fair share of pavement on the Canucks road to the President’s Trophy. Don’t get fooled just by numbers. Strongly consider Roberto Luongo for the Vezina.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators by Realdeal
Rinne had a breakout year for Nashville, posting career highs in wins (33, 14th in the league), GAA (2.12, 3rd), Save Percentage (93.0%, 2nd). He also posted six shutouts, good enough for sixth in the league. On a team with a less than potent offense, Nashville relied on Rinne, and he rose to the challenge. He put the Predators on his shoulders and led them to fifth place in the West. He faced the sixth most shots in the league (1771), more than the other two Vezina finalists. Put Rinne on a team with more offense support like his Vezina competitors and he surely increases his win total.
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins by Cujo
Tim Thomas should get your vote and pretty much be a lock for the Vezina trophy. While the other goalies may have had great seasons, nobody could touch Tim. Setting the record for highest regular season save percentage with .938 , throw on top a league leading goals against average of 2.00 and 9 shutouts, and you have yourself prime Vezina material. Another note of interest, this was the second highest amount of saves he’s had to make in his NHL career in one season (1699, the MOST he’s faced was 1796 in 06-07).
Tim Thomas 24 (6-3-0)
Pekka Rinne 16 (2-4-2)
Roberto Luongo 12 (2-3-0)
Henrik Lundqvist 5 (0-0-5)
Cam Ward 4 (1-0-1)
Antti Niemi 2 (0-1-0)
Carey Price 1 (0-0-1)
Ilya Bryzgalov 1 (0-0-1)
Flyers Tandem 1 (0-0-1)
votes cast by the Bos, Cbj, LA, NJ, NYR, Phi, Pit, SJ chapters of the CSHWA