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Is Lundqvist Vezina worthy again?

Bennett/Getty

Bennett/Getty

Although he has been criticized –especially early in the season– and he is without a shutout (yet), could Henrik Lundqvist quietly have moved into the Vezina candidates once again, this season?

With Craig Anderson and his other worldly numbers surely out of contention because a lack of games (16 games is surely not enough to warrant consideration), Lundqvist has a few key differences to most of his Vezina competition this year. For the most part he’s suffered from a lack of goal support, while he has also had to battle to keep his team in the playoff mix.

Of goaltenders that have started 25 games or more, only Tuukka Rask has a better GAA than The King, while Lundqvist boasts the league’s best save percentage (again, discounting Anderson’s 16 game assault on the statistics). Then there’s the good old fashioned win column. The King has 17 wins which given his lack of goal support (The Rangers sit 26th overall in goal scored) is impressive, and places Lundqvist 6th overall. With guys such as Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price playing on clubs having more successful seasons than the Rangers, it’s hard not to respect the numbers the Rangers goalie has quietly assembled. However, how much will the lack of shutouts hurt his case for Vezina nomination?

Whatever way you look at it, Henrik Lundqvist continues to carry the Rangers and continues to be the league’s most important goaltender. You could take Fleury out of Pittsburgh and the team likely continues to win at the same rate. The same can be argued with Rask in Boston. While the Rangers have made changes before and during this season and have a fine roster now and for the future, their success is very dependent on Lundqvist.

A few names will no doubt be in the mix come Vezina time. Nicklas Backstrom has re-emerged in Minnesota to have a strong year, Tuukka Rask has made Boston forget about Tim Thomas, while Carey Price and Marc Andre Fleury are having equally fine seasons. But the longer this season has gone on Lundqvist has increasingly been elite. If the King can keep up his recent sensational form (with the crowning performance being in Carolina Saturday) he will no doubt once again garner significant support for another Vezina trophy, something that would be richly deserved.

8 Responses to “Is Lundqvist Vezina worthy again?”

  1. SalMerc says:

    Not so far in my eyes. A great goalie should be able to win about 5 games a year by themselves (not my words, but those of ex-Coach Neilson). I cannot say that Henrik has been able to stand on his head and win even 2-3 games by himself for us. He is great, don’t get me wrong, just not worthy of the award this year.

    • Evan says:

      Could not disagree more. Frankly, i am in shock that you could even make a comment like this. Are you even watching the games? It is tough for henrik to have “stolen” games when our team got shut out 5 times before the trade deadline.

      The amount of games Henrik has been left out to dry by his defense (see the entirety of Monday and Saturdays games) this season is insane. Our defense has continuously made egregious mistakes that have ruined any hope of him getting shut outs.

      You bring up this ” a goalie should be able to win about 5 games a year by themselves” statement What other goalie can you say has done that better than henrik this year? Id say henriks 4 games last week alone fit that mold with how well he played in games we got 7 of 8 points.

      Do you realize that before mondays game, if you took out craig anderson, henrik was NUMBER ONE in save percentage and top 5 in GAA? So on a stat basis, he is already worth of being a finalist.

      From there, Henrik is tied for the most starts of any goalie and faced the second most shots in the NHL behind Niemi. The only reason we are in a playoff spot is because of henrik. While henrik got off to a slow start (which is understandable given how much time he had off), he has since carried us. If he had not played how he did the past 6 weeks we would probably be in the 13-15 range given our scoring and awaiting a lottery pick.

      The award is given to the best goalie. I really do not see how anyone can make a case that he is not given the amount he plays, how well he plays and the amount of high quality scoring chances he has to deal with each game. It is not his fault it took a trade deadline make over for our offense to wake up and consistently score/create chances.

      I think henrik is going to stay hot and his stats are going to make an even bigger case for back to back vezina winner by seasons end.

      • SalMerc says:

        Is Henrik the reason we are in eighth place or is it only because of him that we ARE in eighth place? Two sides of the coin. He is a great goalie, but tell me if you think he is as good as the last 2 years. And yes, the games I cannot make I watch on TV.
        Sometimes we need to take off the Ranger Blue and realize we are in a dogfight with the Islanders, a $18M team with Taveras and little else.

  2. The Suit says:

    We can all argue who the best goalie is based on our own annectdotal observations, but at the end of the day the Vezina noms go to guys who lead the major statistical categories. Henrik is up there yet again.

  3. Rob says:

    When Roger Neilson said that, the parity in the league was no where near, what it is today though Sal. I’ll tell ya in 36 years of watching hockey, I’ve never seen a goalie as good as Hank.

  4. Joe says:

    In addition, no one ahead of him in either sv% or GAA has faced even close to the amount of shots he has. The closest would be Bobrovsky, who is well over 100 sa shy.

  5. Walt says:

    YES!! YES!! YES!!

    Evan made a great case for Hank, and to be candid would you, ask any GM who they would start a team with in goal, 28 out of 30 would tell you Hank. You can’t compare the flake Fleury, and or Price, who have very good defenses, and outstanding offensive teams in from of them. Just ask yourself, with your mind, and not you heart, who would you want in net? Hank, period, end of discussion.

    That stated, will the voters analyse the things being mentioned, and give Hank a fair shot. I’d bet that the Canadian voters would want a Canadian to win, and Price gets their vote. By Canadian voters I mean their press, can they be objective?

  6. Jared says:

    Is Bobrovsky not in consideration? I think he is campaigning for the Vezina but does not get any publicity. 6th in GAA and 2nd in Save%

    Granted he is on the Blue Jackets but I think we can show a little love for the Blue Jackets on Broadway.