Friday, December 26th, 2014

Vezina Trophy Watch: Why Mike Smith could have been Vezina Trophy finalist

Published on April 26, 2012 by   ·   No Comments

Mike Smith may have been the biggest surprise for many during Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But it is any surprise that he was overlooked for the Vezina Trophy final nominations?

Mike Smith, shown here in this file photo, arguably has the numbers to be nominated for the Vezina Trophy. He'll work the crease in Round 2 against Vezina finalist Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators.

For some, yes, Smith’s absence is. Of course, the final candidates are Jonathan Quick, of the Los Angeles Kings, Henrik Lundqvist, of the New York Rangers, and, rounding out the three is Pekka Rinne, of the, Nashville Predators.

Lundqvist and Quick were no-brainers. But here’s what Rinne brought to the table:

  • Shots faced: 2,153 (league-leading)
  • Saves: 1,987 (league-leading)
  • Record: 43-18-8 (most wins)

Do these numbers justify a Vezina Trophy nomination nod? Rinne lost the honour to Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins last year. And now, Rinne, arguably the goaltender for the biggest threat in the Western Conference, has a shot to be recognized as “the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.”

But Smith has shown superiority over Rinne against, arguably, a far more talented, or, at least, aggressive offensive team: the Chicago Blackhawks.

Here’s what Smith brought to the table this year:

  • Filled in the void left by Ilya Bryzgalov, who signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Started in the crease for what was pegged as the basement team of the Western Conference, but to help them finish third overall.
  • Had a better goals against average than Rinne. (Smith: 2.21; Rinne: 2.39.)
  • Had a better save percentage than Rinne. (Smith:.903; Rinne: .922.)
  • Was just five wins shy of Rinne with 38, but allowed 22 fewer goals with 144, compared to Rinne’s 166.

So, should Smith have the nomination as opposed to Rinne?

The two goalies do square off in Round 2. Perhaps the question will be answered in arguably one of the most anticipated series in the round.

 

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