There is no doubt that all three goaltenders that were nominated for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder in the regular season are all deserving of the coveted Trophy.
While Nashville Predators’ goaltender Pekka Rinne had a terrific season and deserved to be nominated this season, this trophy will really be between Los Angeles Kings’ Cup winning goaltender Jonathan Quick and New York Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist.
Taking a look at Quick, it felt like he almost had to be perfect in every game he played. The Kings were one of the worst teams in the league in terms of scoring goals in the regular season, which meant that Quick needed to be ready to make a big save at all times.
Quick succeeded in doing so and had his best regular season in his young NHL career. Quick went 35-21-13 with a 1.95 goals against average, a .929 save percentage and was tied for the league lead in shutouts with 10.
In Quick’s 69 games played, many of them were low scoring games and despite not getting enough offensive support, he still found ways to win. Quick was confident, consistent and did about anything and everything to help his club sneak into the postseason.
Looking at Lundqvist, it can be said that he was just as good, if not better than the Kings’ 26-year-old netminder. Lundqvist, 30, went 39-18-5 with a 1.97 goals against average, a .930 save percentage and 8 shutouts.
He was the Rangers’ best player all season long. Much like the Kings, the Rangers were not exactly a high-scoring team (11th in the league) and more often than not, Lundqvist had to be the difference in the hockey game.
It can also be said that Lundqvist was the main reason the Rangers’ were as good as they were in the regular season. If you take Lundqvist off the Rangers, it is almost guaranteed that the Rangers would be a much different hockey team.
With all of that said, Lundqvist and Quick’s seasons were very, very, similar. They were both put in similar situations, had to be the best player on the ice for their team and do everything they can to help their clubs win a hockey game.
It is hard to say which one of these All-Star netminders will take home the Vezina this season but whether it is Quick or Lundqvist, these netminders deserve all the props they have received this season from the league, its fans and the media.
Who is your pick?
On top of his work for Kukla’s Korner, Patrick covers the NHL for Sportsnet.ca and Liam Maguire’s Ultimta Hockey Web Site.
Prior to writing for the above-mentioned outlets, Hoffman’s musings have been published on the Red Light District Hockey Blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Spector’s Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com, here on NHL Home Ice from 2008 to 2009, as well as a slew of others.