This week, SB Nation will unveil its winners for seven different NHL awards. Bloggers from across our hockey network have voted on the awards, and today we begin with the Vezina Trophy, handed out each year to the NHL's top goalie.
I think this is the part where we're supposed to lead this Vezina Trophy-related post off with a Flyers goaltending joke. We'll just consider that obligation fulfilled and move on. Over at SBNation.com today, you'll learn our choice for the winner of the Vezina Trophy. Head on over there to find out.
Below, we'll unveil our ballots for the award. As you'd expect, Geoff had to be just a little bit different.
Travis Hughes, Managing Editor
3rd: Mike Smith. The Coyotes goaltender finished at the top of the league in save percentage this season (among regular starters), tied at .930 with the Rangers' Lundqvist. I'd give Smith a higher vote, and this is a one-year award so I know I shouldn't be looking at past seasons in my judgment too much, but I can't help but think there's some sort of team effect pumping up that save percentage.
2nd: Jonathan Quick. The Kings goaltender is probably the reason they're in the position they find themselves in today, and frankly, he's probably the reason Richie, Jeffie & Sons are even in the postseason. When it comes down to it, I had to decide between Quick and Lundqvist for the No. 1 spot here, and well ... I have nightmares about Henrik Lundqvist. So, there you have it.
1st: Henrik Lundqvist. The dude's hair is enough for me to give him the top spot, but seriously, I'm not sure where the Rangers are without him. Like I said, it's a tiny, tiny divide between Lundqvist and Quick, and it's probably just my personal experience with Lundqvist that pushes him over the top for me. I'm fine with that.
Ben Rothenberg, Associate Editor
3rd: Mike Smith. I think part of the reason people had no opinion of Mike Smith (and don't really have strong ones now) is because of his name. He's bland, forgettable, and I wasn't 100% confident he and Dan Ellis were separate people until these playoffs started. That said, he really made a name for himself by dominating the two categories I think most important in goaltending: save percentage (.930) and penalty minutes (16), both of which were good for best in the league. No other goalie even cracked double digits in PIMs. Somewhere Ron Hextall sheds a tear.
2nd: Henrik Lundqvist. For a team on Broadway in the biggest media market in the world, the Rangers are a decidedly unsexy team to watch, nor are they very endearing off ice (players and management). Their captain, Ryan Callahan, is the least exciting star in hockey by some distance, and is not so much vanilla as he is watery. Just nothing there whatsoever. Henrik Lundqvist brings this team the charisma it so desperately needs to sell hockey to New Yorkers who don't give a shit, and that's a huge responsibility. You know it takes him a lot of time to get ready each morning, and for him to be able to (on top of his cover boy responsibilities) also put up good numbers in net during his night job is really impressive. Also, tack för att eliminera "den stora åtta," Henrik. Tusen, tusen tack.
1st: Jonathan Quick. So this guy is a really good goalie, makes headline writing obscenely easy, and has almost certainly talked to BOTH Jeff Carter and Mike Richards at some point. His helmet is also cool, but I think next year once he wins the Vezina and the cup he needs to turn that knight's helmet thing into a bejeweled crown. Or at least he needs to scotch tape one of those sweet Burger King crowns to it. Also, shutouts and 69 starts. And the restraint to never come in in relief of his back-up Jonathan Bernier this whole season. The man respects boundaries. And I respect him.
Geoff Detweiler, Associate Editor
3rd: Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist easily could win the Vezina, but he could also easily rank behind Mike Smith. Alas, Lundqvist gets the nod at three for his excellent year.
2nd: Pekka Rinne. It was tough to give second place to someone other than Hank, but Rinne tied Jonas Hiller for most appearances with 73 and -- surely not coincidentally -- led the league in shots faced. His numbers aren't as good as Hank's, but I gave Pekka the nod anyway for being elite and a workhorse.
1st: Jonathan Quick. He held the Kings in the playoff hunt as long as he could. He was second in even-strength save percentage with 0.933 (among those goalies with 1,000 shots faced), the same as Lundqvist, but unlike Hank, Quick also stopped 0.908 of all shots while the Kings were a man down, second only to Martin Brodeur. Why is that amazing? Because Quick also ranked second in shots faced while a man down with 347 shots.
We'll be back tomorrow with our Norris Trophy picks.