Home > NHL > Who should win this year’s Vezina?

Who should win this year’s Vezina?


Over the years, the Vezina Trophy has been awarded to two different kinds of goaltenders. The one who lets in the least amount of goals and the one who is the best at his job all around, despite the efforts of the rest of his team. Early on the award was given to the goaltender allowing the lowest number of pucks into his net, but in 1981 that award was renamed the William M. Jennings, and the Vezina was awarded to the overall “best at his position”.

Each year the leagues General Managers vote, narrow it down to 3 nominees and then choose the winner. Biased and a bit political, maybe. After all in the past 10 years there have only been 5 different winners, two of which have won on multiple occasions in Dominik Hasek (6 times) and Martin Brodeur (4 times) But at the same time, those 5 previous winners were/are also at the top of their game. They are names that even a non-hockey fan would recognize.

We have learned, if we didn’t know it already, in the 2010 season how a goaltender can truly impact the outcome of a game, a playoff spot, a championship, and we have seen some remarkable favorites battle it out for their teams all year long. I grew up watching  Ed Belfour, I know a great goalie when I see one. Here are my unbiased picks, in no particular order, (keep in mind my favorite netminder is NOT on my list) for this years 2010 Vezina Trophy:

Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils)– Brodeur has won the Vezina 4 different times, and there’s a reason for that. At 37 years old, he is still at the top of his game. This season alone, he has broken numerous records most of them previously held by the legendary Patrick Roy. He is now the all-time leader in career wins, shutouts, playoff shut outs, minutes played and games played. He has played the most out of anyone, won the most out of anyone, his losses are the 5th “best” in the league and his save percentage is 3rd. All of this as a veteran, and I think that speaks volumes considering the amount of young talent we have in the new NHL.

Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix Coyotes)- Where to begin with Bryzgalov. The Coyotes have been talk of much conversation with their recent bout of bankruptcy and the will they or wont they relocate business, but for 29 year old Bryzgalov, that must have all gone in one ear and out the other. While Brodeur is setting all time records, Bryzgalov is setting a few of his own, both personal and franchise. He set a franchise record for most wins at 34, and has now extended that number to 40. He also has 8 shutouts this season, not only the most for the franchise but the most in the league. Despite all the drama, his team is a surprise front runner, and a lot of that has to do with Bryzgalov. As the 3rd star of the NHL in both the month of October and December, Bryzgalov himself could be a front runner in this competition and is my personal pick for the trophy.

Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres)- Miller is most known for his more than exceptional performance at this years Winter Olympics. Though Team USA lost to Team Canada in the final, Miller was well deserving of the tournaments Best Goaltender and MVP. He has been setting career highs for himself with his shutout record, save % and goals against. Miller is a big reason why the Sabres are where they are in the Eastern Conference standings, when their defensive end doesn’t get it done, its left up to Miller and his hybrid style of goaltending, something that compares him to veterans Brodeur and Evgeni Nabakov. Out of his 5 shut outs this season, one was against the explosive offense of the Washington Capitals, and if a goaltender can hold their own against the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, thats saying quite a bit.

Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings)- I know what all of you are thinking, he’s a rookie. A rookie that a lot of my readers don’t believe is the right candidate for the Calder Trophy because of his age and AHL experience. This kid has done so much for the Red Wings organization since taking on the starting position when all-star veteran Chris Osgood couldn’t cut it. He has helped keep his veteran dominated team’s playoff hopes alive with an outstanding save % of .926 and goals against of 2.24, when the team has been plagued with so many injuries this season. So if not the Calder, why not he Vezina? For a guy with so little NHL experience, he sure has the skills and the drive and let’s face it, he’s out playing his competitors at the moment. Let me also remind you how much I hate the Wings…

Craig Anderson (Colorado Avalanche)/Tomas Vokoun (Florida Panthers)- So I can’t make up my mind who my fifth pick for the trophy is, so let’s compare the two. Anderson comes from a team that was thought to have no chance at just about anything this year. They fired their staff, they lost veteran Joe Sakic to retirement, and were left with a mostly “young” team. The Av’s are four points ahead of the Calgary Flames, holding onto that last playoff spot in the West for dear life. Anderson has the second most shutouts this year a save % of .919 and has faced more shots than any other man at his position. What does that tell us? When his defense can’t do their job, he picks up the slack and with the exception of star rookie Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny, could quite possibly be the only reason why the Av’s make the playoffs. Vokoun, on the other hand has nothing going for him with the Florida Panthers as they have not had a shot at the playoffs in 10 years, but he still shows up to play. He has faced the second largest amount of shots and has the 3rd best save % in the league. Shows how little help he gets from either end of the ice. Let’s not forget he has just as many shutouts as Anderson, tying him for 2nd. With the numbers that he has and the little he has to work with, there’s not really a reason he wouldn’t be as much of a candidate as Anderson.

WHO’S YOUR PICK FOR THE VEZINA? LET US KNOW HERE!

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