GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 16: Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Phoenix Coyotes makes a pad save on the shot from the Detroit Red Wings in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 16, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Red Wings defeated the Coyotes 7-4 to tie the series at 1-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The National Hockey League announced their top three choices for this year's Vezina Trophy earlier this afternoon. The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best all around goaltender in the league over the course of the regular season. The nominees were Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. To be honest, I do not agree with Brodeur even being a nominee, but regardless, it is going to come down to Bryzgalov and Miller, and both were instrumental in their team's success this season.
Miller was 41-18-8 this season with a save percentage of .929, a goals against average of 2.22, and notched five shutouts as well. Not to mention he was absolutely incredible in the Olympic games, which shouldn't have an impact on the final decision, but I still think it may give him a bit of an edge.
Over in Arizona, Bryzgalov recorded eight shutouts and was 42-20-6 on the season. His GAA of 2.29 and save percentage of .920 are one of the main reasons the Coyotes are in the playoffs right now, let alone playing with the home ice advantage in their series with the Detroit Red Wings.
Brodeur had yet another "Brodeur year" for New Jersey, but I do not feel like he was anything special compared to Miller and Bryzgalov. Sure his Devils finished second in the Eastern Conference and first in the Atlantic Division, but he was not the primary force that drove them to that position. Players like Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the standouts in my mind.
My pick for the Vezina would have to be Ryan Miller. Buffalo improved as a whole this year, but there was no better player on that team than Miller, and no better goaltender in the NHL than Miller. Night in and night out this guy put on a show and I believe he deserves recognition for that. As far as Bryzgalov goes, though, he is my pick for the Hart Memorial trophy, which is awarded to the league MVP