Kings’ Quick Making a Strong Case for Vezina

Quick has stood tall for the Kings all season. (Resolute/WikiMedia)

Now that daylight savings time has arrived, the playoff race has entered a chaotic final push as teams scramble to clinch home ice or even get a playoff spot in the final month of the season.  Another set of races has also entered the final stretch as players make their final cases to add trophies to their mantels.  As the Los Angeles Kings continue their day to day battle to get into the 8th seed in the West, it’s time to take a look at what Jonathan Quick has meant to them.  His play this year will surely garner some attention for the NHL Awards show in June.

 

Vezina Trophy

As the NHL states it, “The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.”  In the past 8 years, four players have won this award: Martin Brodeur (4 times), Miikka Kiprusoff, Ryan Miller, and Tim Thomas (2 times, including last year).

 

The competition amongst goalies this year is fierce, with a few unexpected names leading the way.  Here’s the competition at a glance (Stats from ESPN as of 3/12):

Brian Elliott – 32 games, 21 wins (24th), 1.61 Goals Against Average (1st), .938 Save Percentage (1st), 6 shutouts (3rd)

Jaroslav Halak – 39 games, 23 wins (21st), 1.86 GAA (2nd), .926 Save % (7th), 6 SO (3rd)

Henrik Lundqvist – 50 games, 31 wins (4th), 1.87 GAA (3rd), .936 Save % (2nd), 8 SO (1st)

Jimmy Howard – 49 games, 33 wins (3rd), 2.05 GAA (6th), .923 Save % (11th), 6 SO (3rd)

Kari Lehtonen – 48 games, 28 wins (9th), 2.25 GAA (9th), .924 Save % (9th), 3 SO (19th)

Marc-Andre Fleury – 56 games, 36 wins (2nd), 2.27 GAA (10th), .916 Save % (18th), 3 SO (19th)

Pekka Rinne – 61 games, 38 wins (1st), 2.35 GAA (13th), .925 Save % (8th), 4 SO (10th)

Mike Smith – 55 games, 30 wins (5th), 2.28 GAA (11th), .927 Save % (6th), 5 SO (6th)

Jonathan Quick – 57 games, 27 wins (10th), 2.00 GAA (4th), .929 Save % (4th), 7 SO (2nd)

 

It’s certainly a star-studded group, but it can be whittled down pretty quickly nonetheless.  Elliott and Halak are both having simply amazing seasons, but are likely splitting their starts too much to warrant individual award recognition.  It truly is a shame since their numbers are outstanding this year.  Lehtonen is a very consistent 9th in most categories and has led a very surprising Dallas team, but ranking 9th doesn’t warrant a Vezina nomination.  Fleury has been playing outstanding hockey for the Penguins, but his surprisingly low save percentage tends to keep him a quarter step behind the elite.  Finally, Rinne and Smith are both top 10 in every category except GAA.  In most seasons, they would be strong candidates, but this is a year where they may not be appreciated as much as they should because of the competition.  A strong last month could push either one into the Top 3 through.

 

For now, that leaves the field at a very likely 3 nominees: Lundqvist, Howard, and Quick:

Henrik Lundqvist – 50 games, 31 wins (4th), 1.87 GAA (3rd), .936 Save % (2nd), 8 SO (1st)

Jonathan Quick – 57 games, 27 wins (10th), 2.00 GAA (4th), .929 Save % (4th), 7 SO (2nd)

Jimmy Howard – 49 games, 33 wins (3rd), 2.05 GAA (6th), .923 Save % (11th), 6 SO (3rd)

 

Howard’s 11th ranked save percentage probably knocks him out of the race, making it a 2 horse race between Quick and Lundqvist.  Despite playing in more games, Quick is behind Lundqvist in both wins and shutouts, along with the other categories as well.  The race for Vezina isn’t over quite yet, but it will take some perfect hockey for Jonathan Quick to outdo Lundqivst.  He should at least expect a trip to Las Vegas for the award show as a nominee though.  Anything less would be criminal.

 

 

Meesh Shanmugam
Meesh is an attorney and one of the Pittsburgh Penguins Contributing Writers for The Hockey Writers. He also writes for ThePensNation.com. You can contact him on twitter @HockeyMeesh or e-mail HockeyMeesh@gmail.com
Meesh Shanmugam
RT @airhockeygoalie: Crosby hasn't had a goal for 20 seconds he's really been invisible lately - 7 mins ago

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