Credit Where It’s DueFebruary 10, 2012, by
The NHL universe is starting to acknowledge what Rangers fans have known for quite some time. The Rangers have the best goaltending in the NHL. TSN published goaltending rankings this week and the Rangers ranked first, ahead of the Boston Bruins tandem of Thomas and Rask.
Thanks to their duo, there could be some serious hardware making its way to the Rangers after this season. Individually, Lundqvist is in the mix for the Vezina and Hart trophies while as a tandem Biron and Lundqvist are well in the running for the Williams M Jennings trophy, a trophy awarded since 1981 to the goaltenders who conceded the least over the course of the season. The Rangers have never won the Jennings trophy.
It’s because of their goaltending that the Rangers are starting to be treated seriously league-wide as a legitimate playoff threat. It seems gone are the days where the Rangers got no respect from media outside of New York. If the Rangers improve their scoring consistency (and get bigger contributions from certain players) then the New York goaltenders should benefit as well.
Can Lundqvist improve? He has already shown remarkable improvement this season when you consider how his glove hand has become a strength rather than an area other teams look to exploit. In all seriousness he doesn’t appear to have a weakness aside from his adventures while stick handling outside of the crease. Even that should be able to be remedied.
The Rangers should – and in all honesty likely will – look to retain Martin Biron beyond this season. He has been a tremendous acquisition by Glen Sather and allows Lundqvist more rest and practice time while providing the Rangers continued excellence in net. Another thing to consider is the lack of prospects coming up through the organisation, making Biron that much more valuable. All in all, the Rangers are very lucky to have their goaltending tandem and finally they are getting the respect they deserve. Here’s hoping it’s underlined with some shiny trophies come seasons end.