Every year, around this time, a certain goalie is linked with a certain trophy. Year in and year out, Martin Brodeur
is on the list of goalies who deserve the Vezina Trophy
. He's a fantastic player, and will enter the Hall of Fame without question. One goalie, who has been a rock for his team to build a playoff and Stanley Cup winning team on top of- who's name is often over looked, is Jean-Sebastien Giguere
of the Anaheim Ducks.
</div>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. Prior to 1982, it was awarded to goaltenders playing in a minimum of 25 games for the team allowing the fewest goals (now awarded as the William M. Jennings Trophy
). To say the least, it is one of the top honors you can receive as a goaltender.
Here's my short list of candidates for the Vezina Trophy awarded to the best goalie in the regular season based purely on my perception:
* Martin Brodeur
* Jean-Sebastien Giguere
* Evgeni Nabokov
* Roberto Luongo
* Miikka Kiprusoff
* Ilya Bryzgalov
* Ryan Miller
Surprisingly, not many goalies come to mind from the Eastern Conference. The above players have truly impressive numbers. But this is a single trophy for the league's best goalie. The only goalies that are in the top 10 for Wins, GAA, and SV% are Giguere, Brodeur, and Luongo.
In order to make sense of all the different stats, analysts employ various formulas for determining some aggregate value that they then can rank and compare different players. Some use weighted values to emphasize certain stats over others. I don't have that kind of knowledge to concoct such a formula so I am going to use a completely simple and probably erroneous formula.
Goals Against Average (GAA) and Save Percentage (SV%) are values that are easily comparable to different goalies. But Wins (W) are not, because the number of wins largely depends on the number of games a goalie starts. I therefore calculate a Win Percentage (W%) which is calculated by taking 1/2 the number of OTL and adding it to the number of wins, then dividing that by the number of games started.
I take the 4 major goalie stat categories (W, GAA, SV%, and W%) and rank each of the 45 goalies that are on pace to play 27 or more games. I then average these ranks together. For instance, Nabokov ranks 1st in wins, 6th in GAA, 26st in SV%, and 5th in Win%. Averaging these values together you get 9.5 (pRank). The table below shows the top 10 goalies using this method sorted from lowest to highest.
Stats as of March 5, 2008
<div align=right>Martin Brodeur
</div>Looking at the top two goalies, Both Giguere and Brodeur have very similar numbers, the only difference being the number of games played. Giguere was sidelined for the first part of the season as he recovered from sports hernia surgery. The difference is 5 more wins and 5 more losses by Brodeur. With 12 games left for the Anaheim Ducks, Giguere doesn't stand a chance in catching Brodeur in games played (GP). It's also unlikely Giguere will hit that magical 40 wins. Brodeur and Nabokov, both have played well over 90% of their teams games this season and could do it with ease. While Giguere has played a measly 75% and would have to play all 12 games, winning 83%. Highly unlikely as the Ducks have 3 separate back-to-back game sequences in their remaining schedule.
Here's another area where Brodeur gains the advantage. The Vezina Trophy is awarded by the GMs of all the teams. Brodeur is practically a household name; a quick search for "Vezina" on ESPN.com returns pages upon pages of game recaps and news articles featuring Brodeur, so often in fact you might think that Martin's middle name was Vezina. While Giguere gets marginal press usually around playoff time. Since December 18, Giguere has been 18-6-2 (.731 W%), with a 1.69 GAA, and .934 SV%, and going 9-1-1 in the month of February.
While you hope that the voters take it serious and choose the players that best exemplify the position, for some, it will be a popularity contest. It would be interesting to see who they would choose if you removed the names from the ballots and only showed the stats. Though that is really only 1/2 of the picture. A Vezina winner must be able to steal games for his team. Unfortunately, that kind of stat is not recorded.
A lock? Hardly. A serious candidate- one of the 3 on the ballot? It would be a travesty if it didn't happen this year.
Please make your comments in the forum.