Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Vezina Trophy Finalists

Looking at pool points to measure the goaltending is a far easier task in these posts, because I think there is some merit to the wins, shutouts and assists that are taken into the calculations, although it doesn't exactly give the overall value that these goalies have for their teams, nor is it an exact science.  The top two goaltenders in pool points do not appear on this list, which is arguably kind of skewed away from my thinking, but what can you do?

Much like his teammate up for the Norris Trophy, Tim Thomas had a season that was absolutely incredible and should be looked upon as a dazzling performance, especially with setting the record for best save percentage in a single NHL season.  Thomas finished the year with 35 wins, 9 shutouts and 3 assists for 91 points in the pool, ranking him 3rd overall among keepers.  For every 60 minutes that Thomas played in 2011, he earned 1.62 pool points, which was tops among the finalists.

Tied for the NHL-lead in wins in 2011, Roberto Luongo had a pretty good season backstopping the Canucks to a President's Trophy for best record overall.  Luongo finished the year with 38 wins, 4 shutouts and 3 assists, giving him 87 pool points, 4th among goalies, and a respectable nod for the trophy.  The real argument against Luongo is about the quality of the team in front of him, but that obviously didn't hold back many votes to get him as a finalist.

Finally, in Nashville, it was a banner season for Pekka Rinne, who deservedly gets a nod for the Vezina, a lot more for his ability than his overall record on a tight-checking, not-always-winning team.  Rinne had some dazzling statistics in the year, but his team may have let him down a number of occasions, possibly restricting his numbers.  Rinne finished the year with 33 wins and 6 shutouts for 78 points, good enough for 14th among goalies in pool points.

This one should be a tap-in for birdie for Thomas.  The save percentage record should almost be a shoe-in, especially for the erratic style of his game that he plays.  He had an excellent record, a fair bit of help and a division title, I can't see Thomas not walking away with this trophy as well this year.

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