Tim Thomas is going to win the Vezina trophy this year. There is no doubt about it, barring an epic collapse that would make the New York Mets blush. However, the other two finalist spots are still up for grabs, and as we close in on the final month of the regular season, there are a few goalies in the discussion to finish #2 and #3 behind Thomas. A hot streak (or a cold streak) to end the season could swing the voting either way, but it is without any hesitation that Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, Jonas Hiller, Roberto Luongo, and Henrik Lundqvist are vying for those other two finalist spots. Look at the numbers for each below.
The table is put in that specific order, because that is how I think the voting will finish at the end of the season. Thomas is the clear cut #1, his numbers trump all of the other players listed above. Looking at Rinne, the Vezina would be his if Thomas wasn’t doing his best Hasek impression this year. He is clearly the reason why Nashville is even remotely close to a playoff spot this season.
As for Lunqvist, it is clear that his peripherals simply do not stand up to the rest of the crew. His GAA is the second highest and his SV% is the lowest. Those are two categories that voters look to.
The one traditional category that The King does have going for him is shutouts. Hank, with nine shutouts, has a pretty wide margin on the two goalies (Price, Thomas – 7) under him. Considering the age and inexperience of the Rangers blue line, that is quite the accomplishment. In fact, Lundqvist’s feats may be more impressive than the goalies on the list above simply because of the blue line playing in front of him.
What Hank also has going for him is his 24.9 GVT, which leaves him second (third if counting Thomas) on the list. GAA and SV% are still the sexy numbers that voters will turn to, much like ERA and wins for the Cy Young, as GVT has not really taken a stranglehold on hockey like FIP and ERA+ have in baseball. GVT also measure value of a player to his team, of which we all know where the Rangers would be without Lundqvist this year.
If Hank has any shot at finishing as a finalist for the Vezina, he is going to need a few things to happen. First, he is going to have to get to ten shutouts, and be the only goalie to do so this year. He is also going to need Carey Price to forget how to play goalie (I think Rinne is locked in as the runner-up) so that he can possibly steal his spot. In the end, I think the voting will be Thomas (1), Rinne (2), Price (3), but there is still a month of hockey left to play.