Lundqvist a Vezina finalist

April 25, 2012, by

In no surprise whatsoever, Henrik Lundqvist was named a finalist for the Vezina trophy this season. Lundqvist had by far the best season of his career this year, posting a 1.97 GAA (4th in the NHL), a .930 SV% (3rd), 39 wins (3rd), and 8 shutouts (3rd). Lundqvist was the rock in the Rangers net, and despite having his numbers slide a little bit in the final month of the year, when the Rangers had already sewn up a playoff spot and home ice advantage, Lundqvist still finished in the top five in each of the four major categories.

The other finalists are the Kings’ Jonathan Quick and the Predators Pekka Rinne. A table summarizing their main stats is below:
















This is clearly a two horse race between Quick and Lundqvist. There’s no wrong choice here, but Lundqvist did play in the toughest division in hockey. That should play to the voters.

Categories : Awards


  1. The Suit says:

    If there were a quality shot save percentage, Hank would be the sure winner right Justin?

    • Justin says:

      I would like to think so Suit, but I would love to get a hold of those numbers to verify…

  2. Alex says:

    Not sure why you think this is a two horse race. Lundqvist arguably had the best season of all three goalies in the toughest division, but my number 2 would go to Pekka Rinne easily. He played in 73 games! Both Lundqvist and Quick had very capable backups. Not to mention the Predators division was no cake walk either with 4 teams qualifying for the playoffs. Yes the GAA is high and the shutouts are lower, but one cannot ignore the +8 wins vs Quick and +4 vs the King! I would say that Lundqvist wins, with Rinne/Quick very close behind. To call it a two horse race though is a bit much.

    • The Suit says:

      So instead of a two horse race, its a three horse race?…kinda splitting hairs no?

  3. Walt says:

    If one is to be objective, looking at the level of play in the east, and the fact that Hank didn’t slip a bit until we tied up all loose ends, Hank hands down should win this tight race. Lets face it, the Flyers, 6 game sweep, the Pens, the Devils, all are not push overs by any stretch of the imagination!!!!!

  4. Chris F says:

    All the arguments in favor of Quick sound strikingly similar to the arguments for Lundqvist in years past. And he never won. Being the deciding factor in whether or not your team makes the Playoffs –as is the case for Quick this year and Lundqvist in previous years– does not make a Vezina winner.

    So, who’s the better goaltender?

    Well, numbers such as GAA (HL 1.97, Quick 1.95), Shut-Outs (HL 8, Quick 10), and Save % (HL .930, Quick .929) don’t really determine a clear winner.

    Winning % favors Lundqvist (.629) over Quick (.507), as his 39 wins in 62 starts is a big boost against Quick’s 35 wins in 69 starts. And this was accomplished against much tougher opposition in the Atlantic Division.

    The fact that the Rangers (4th) blocked far more shots than the Kings (29th), I actually see as a huge disadvantage for Lundqvist in net. When your team doesn’t block shots, you face more shots, sure, but you also generally have a clearer line of sight and less deflections. So, Quick, theoretically, had more manageable shots, even if a higher volume. Lundqvists is back-stopping behind a team that is constantly throwing their bodies and sticks in shooting lanes. This reduced the numbers of shots Lunqvist faced, but it also created major vision issues and a higher number of deflected shots. As any goaltender can attest, shots that change direction are far more difficult to stop than straight shots through an open lane. I give Lundvist the nod here for putting up equal GAA and SV% with Quick despite facing much higher irregularities in shots.

    Finally, consistency.

    Quick put up stellar numbers, and he had an high number of low scoring games, allowing one goal or less in 27 games and surrendering two goals or fewer 46 times. However, Quick was more prone to putting up dud games, such as as the 8-2 loss to Detroit on Dec. 17, 2011 in which Quick was pulled in the 1st period after giving up 5 goals on 9 shots, or his sub-par performance on April 5, 2012, giving up 5 goals on 31 shots to the Sharks.

    Lundqvist, on the other hand, did not give up more than 4 goals at all the entire season.

    At the end of the day, Lundqvist has put up his best season yet, and he’s won 30+ games in each of his first 7 seasons. He’s been right there in the Vezina running 3 prior times, always to see the nod go elsewhere.

    Quick has had a masterful year, but I don’t think his numbers are good enough to de-throne the rightful King. It’s Hank’s year. The man deserves the Vezina.

    • The Suit says:

      Great post

      • Justin says:

        Seconded, hell of a post Chris.

        • Chris F says:

          Thanks, both!

          What do you think of that theory of blocked shots?

          General consensus seems to be that a team that blocks shots adds defensive depth, but I don’t see a whole lot of discussion on what impact that has on goalie visibility and redirected shots, etc.

          • Justin says:

            Blocked shots are a tricky thing. On one hand, they can reduce the amount of shots a goalie faces, deflect shots from dangerous areas out of play, and, for teams who are talented at it, alter the opponent’s offensive scheme.

            On the other hand, they can lead to more screen shots and unintended deflections. I would love to see an efficiency metric taking into consideration when a block attempt is made, how often the puck reaches the net.

    • Chuck A. says:

      Is this award given more on the emotion of those voting, or by statistical analysis? Either way, I see the King with the hardware.

      • Chris F says:

        If I may, Chuck, the award is voted on by the League’s GMs. These are supposed to be professionals who truly understand how the game is played, so I would expect a more fair assessment than you might get with hockey writers, who may favor story-lines.

        With that said, I agree that either way, Hank earns the Vezina. In terms of numbers, he’s right there with Quick, whereas he has the better career narrative, and is “due” so to speak. Quick would have to really surpass Lundvist’s numbers, I think, to overcome the story-line. But, that’s just me.

  5. Jeff P says:

    Lundquist should win, but I would give it to Halak/Elliott. After the first three games by Halak, the other 79 were outstanding.