The Vezina Award is one of the most prestigious awards that a player can win. The award is given to the goalie that is thought to be the best goalie in the league. It isn’t that easy being a goalie in the National Hockey League. Night in and night out, tons of pressure is put on a team’s goalie to perform and help that team come out victorious. Goaltenders throughout the league make their jobs look like nothing. Every night they go out and perform as best as they could, some nights good, some nights bad. However, no matter what the outcome is, being a goaltender in the National Hockey League is certainly no easy task.
This year’s candidates are Los Angeles’s Jonathan Quick, New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. Many people believe that this year’s winner will easily be Jonathan Quick. Now I agree with others, I believe that Jonathan Quick is indeed the best goalie in the National Hockey League. However, many people also believe that Quick should easily win the award. Even though I think he deserves the award, I do not believe that he is the clear cut winner.
Below, I will list each candidate and a brief summary on why I believe they have a chance of winning.
Nashville Predators, Pekka Rinne
Games Played- 73/10
Goals Against Average- 2.39/2.07
Save Percentage- 9.23/9.29
Before I talk about Rinne, the numbers listed above are the player’s stats for the regular season and for the postseason, with the postseason stats coming second.
Now back to the main topic…. Pekka Rinne had a fantastic 2011-2012 season. Rinne went onto win a career high 43 games, which was good enough for a ten game win difference from last season. During this past season, Rinne also led the league in wins, saves made and save attempts. A goalie never really wants to be first in the league in save attempts because it shows that they were forced to work harder than any other goalie. With Rinne’s play from the past season, a casual hockey fan would for sure believe that he would be the 2011-2012 Vezina Award winner. Despite the fact that Pekka had a tremendous regular season, he failed to help get the Predators far in the playoffs. After a great first series against the Red Wings, the Predators were abruptly stopped in their pursuit towards the cup by the Phoenix Coyotes. Pekka Rinne did not have a good second series as he eleven goals in just five games. The Coyotes dominated the series winning it in five. Because of Rinne’s poor playoff performance, I do not believe that he will be the winner of the award this season, but with his play clearly improving, Rinne has an excellent chance to be a future winner.
New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist
Games Played- 62/20
Goals Against Average- 1.97/1.82
Save Percentage- .930/.931
Henrik Lundqvist is without a doubt one of the best goalies in the league and he proved it during this past season between the pipes for the New York Rangers. During the 2011-2012 season, Lundqvist was amazing. Lundqvist was one of the main reasons the Rangers were able to be the very first team in the NHL to clinch a spot in the playoffs. Not only was he a huge part of the Rangers season, he was also a big part of why they were able to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. During this past postseason, Lundqvist play was overlooked because of his statistics and the Kings star goalie Jonathan Quick. Another reason why his play was overlooked was because he suffered 13 losses, while he only suffered 18 total losses in the regular season. The Rangers failed to help out Lundqvist in the postseason with their average offensive play. Just because Lundqvist suffered 13 total losses, a lot of people are failing to realize that he improved his GAA and his save percentage from the regular season. Lundqvist is an elite goalie; no one is arguing that, however people are unfairly dismissing Lundqvist because Jonathan Quick was an absolute monster in the postseason.
Speaking of Quick…..
Los Angeles Kings, Jonathan Quick
Games Played- 69/20
Goals Against Average- 1.95/1.41
Save Percentage- 9.29/.946
Dominant, extraordinary, assertive, and forceful. All of these are words that can describe Jonathan Quick. What he did in these past playoffs was truly amazing. However, the Los Angeles Kings actually almost missed the postseason as they struggles to earn the final spot in the West. Quick actually might be the main reason why the Kings made the postseason. Although he clearly suffered a lot of losses during the season, on average he allowed fewer than just two goals a game. Because of Quick’s great play to end the season, the Kings were able to make the playoffs. Entering the playoffs as the eight seed, no one really gave them a chance. When Quick stepped out onto the ice for game one against the Vancouver Canucks, he knew that he would have to play the best he ever has before and he did just that. He completely dominated not only the Canucks, but every single team and player that he faced. Quick’s postseason performance has definitely given him the edge to win the award, and with the dominance of the Kings this past two months, I believe that he will win the Vezina Award and be named the best goalie in the league.
Although I believe that Quick will win the award, it shouldn’t be easily given to Quick, He definitely earned it, however Lundqvist and Rinne both have their own reasons why they should be the winners. Many people are expecting a big win for Quick on this one, but I think it should and will be closer that a lot of people are expecting.
With that being said, we will find out tomorrow night who the winner will be as the NHL is holding their annual NHL Award show in Las Vegas.
Thanks For Reading!