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Poll: Who are the leading Vezina candidates?

Dec 23, 2013, 3:57 PM EDT

Ben Bishop AP

The NHL announced its three star selections on Monday and, curiously, it was just the third time this season no goaltender was honored.

Why curious? Because the lack of goalies highlights one of the season’s biggest narratives — masked men are stealing the show.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Semyon Varlamov, Jean-Sebastian Giguere, Jonas Gustavsson, Robin Lehner, Frederik Andersen, Ben Scrivens, Josh Harding, Devan Dubnyk, Roberto Luongo, Martin Jones and Carter Hutton have all captured star of the week honors already, which means now seems like a good time to discuss the Vezina, the grandest goalie award of ‘em all.

Who are the leading candidates? A few for your perusal…

Ben Bishop

Amazingly, Tampa’s No. 1 netminder hasn’t won any weekly/monthly star awards this season, despite being one of the league’s top netminders. Bishop currently ranks second in wins (19), fifth in save percentage (.934) and sixth in GAA (1.96). He’s also tied for the league lead with three shutouts and ranks top-10 in “workhorse” categories like games played and time on ice.

Josh Harding

The Minnesota netminder, third star for the month of November, leads the NHL in GAA (1.51) and sits second in save percentage (.939). The fact he’s done this while dealing with MS is incredible, but he’s currently on IR while making adjustments to his treatment protocol and won’t be eligible to return until Dec. 27. If Harding can maintain his early form and play enough games, he’ll be the in the Vezina conversation throughout the year.

Tuukka Rask

Rask’s body of work this season has been overlooked given all the other compelling storylines, but it shouldn’t be. His 1.87 GAA and .936 save percentage are very impressive given his workload — Boston has only used backup Chad Johnson nine times this season, and Rask has the seventh-most starts (28) in the league.

Carey Price

Only three goalies have faced more than 900 shots heading into tonight’s action — Price, Mike Smith and Ondrej Pavelec. Pavelec’s save percentage is .908, Smith’s is .913 and Price’s is.932…the sixth best mark in the league. He’s also started 30 games already, two back of NHL leader Luongo.

Others…

Semyon Varlamov has cooled after his red-hot start, but still boasts good overall numbers… Marc-Andre Fleury gets a lot of heat for his inconsistent play, but he’s been rock-solid (21-8-1, 2.04 GAA, .923 save percentage), especially after Tomas Vokoun was sidelined by blood clot issues…Luongo has been a workhorse and is tied for the shutout lead, with three…Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer have both been excellent, but that works against their individual Vezina chances…Antti Niemi was the league’s third star for October and second in games played, third in wins.

Vote away (just like awards season, you get to nominate your three finalists)…

  1. travishenryskid - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Ryan Miller has been the best goalie in the NHL this year, but because of the team in front of him, he won’t have the numbers.

    • joey4id - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      hahahaha! That is funny! “At the end of each season, the thirty NHL general managers vote to determine the winner. It is named in honour of Georges Vezina.” How about someone from the list? I’m going to say Fleury for now because of the way he’s been playing despite the lack 11 regulars are out of the lineup.

    • anthj99 - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      Hasek led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup in ’99 with an equally crappy roster. Satan led the team with 66pts during the regular season and they regularly won low scoring games. I’m a Sabres fan, but while Miller is playing above average, he is not an elite goaltender this year.

    • c9castine - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      harding fleury and rask are the leading candidates i think. tough to pick between them, but 21 (maybe 22) is a lot of wins to post before christmas especially when you consider how many players especially defenseman the Pens are missing. Says a lot about his impact on those 21 wins.

    • upper90cheese - Dec 24, 2013 at 9:13 AM

      Bishop all day long

  2. steelers88 - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I know I am biased but, I think that Marc-Andre Fleury should get strong consideration. This is the best I have seen Fleury play since the 2009 Playoffs. I think if Fleury went down with a injury the Penguins would be in trouble. I think Fleury is a dark horse candidate.

    • lordfletcher - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      the difference between Fleury and Zatkoff isn’t that extreme to be giving any awards to Marc at this point. yes the pens have had injuries but still boast the best forward group in the NHL.

      Look at the difference between Backstrom and Harding this year… simply amazing!!!!! Harding for the goalie of the year if the award was to be given away today… and Rask as the close 2nd. Bishop 3rd. Fleury 4th

      • c9castine - Dec 27, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        so because the Pens backup doesn’t suck, Fluery should get less consideration?? Theres logic, and then theres…

        i agree Harding is probably the leading guy right now but seriously, thats just silly.

  3. bleedrangerblue - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    I know one thing. It’s not Lundqvist. LGR!!!

  4. letsgolightning - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    If all the LA goalies were one person, they’d have this locked down. Since they’re not, I’m just happy to see a Tampa goalie even being mentioned in the same article as some of these other names. It’s been a long time…

  5. devilsarethebest - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Come on guys, we know Henrik Lundqvist is going to be nominated regardless of how he plays, so pick another 2.

  6. steelers88 - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Devilsarethebest.
    Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t deserve it. His been bad all year. He really shouldn’t be nominated.

  7. ron05342 - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Martin Jones.

  8. sportsfan69 - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Henrik Lundqvist should be considered for the Vezina Trophy. He’s highest paid goaltender in the league. He’s owes his fortunate to the “Old Man”. Glenn “the Old Man” Sather is the best GM in the League for idiots. It’s the team’s fault that Lundqvist is playing bad. Poor Henrik is not allowed to take any responsibility for his poor play. He doesn’t have five defensemen in front of him blocking shots anymore. The goalie pads and body protection reduction is NOT fair for him. He’s the King of NO CUPS.

    • gaborik104life - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      You obviously do not watch any rangers games. While he has been bad and people who do not watch will be quick to point out Talbot’s play the fact remains the team plays much differently in front of Cam than they do in front of Hank. It is a cycle of bad play between the players costing the Rangers goals and the play of Hank on goals leading to the players being disheartened however not all blame can be placed on Hank as the team has struggled in their own zone often leaving Hank to do what he has done for the past eight years on a much more constant basis than previously.

  9. slaugin - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Tukka should have been on the ballot last year and if he stays consistent could very well be the favorite this year

  10. northstarnic - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    It’s gotta be Harding, assuming he bounces back after his time off and continues to play as he has so far.

  11. benrob99 - Dec 23, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Harding has been impressive. Fleury has been very good. Rask is always good. The LA guys will be there at the end. Right now… first half… I’ll go Fleury.

  12. deisel19 - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    I may be bias but fleury has been phenomenal with half the baby pens playing these last few weeks. He masks (no pun intended) a lot of errors that happen on the back end and keep the pens in games, night in and night out.

    • mvshark - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      And Rask has not lost players in front of him? McQuaid, Hamilton, Boychuk, Paille, Erickson, Kelly, Thornton due to suspension, just to name a few have all missed significant time

  13. lightning69 - Dec 24, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Great to see Bishop getting a little national recognition. Other than a brief amazing ’11 run by Roloson, Tampa has not had a solid netminder since ’04 Cup win. Bettman ruined a chance to defend, then Khabibulan was gone.

    Tonight against the Panthers, Bishop still made great saves all game even though we finally had all 4 lines playing and shooting with the speed we are capable of.

    Matt F’n Carle (MFC) ruined Bishop’s possible 4th shutout tonight. Can’t wait til we get healthy and he finally loses ice time. None of our 8 rookies turn it over like 5.5 mil a year MFC! Sheesh!

  14. deezenucks - Dec 24, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    Fleury, Harding and Bishop or Luo

    • mvshark - Dec 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Rask? He is in top 4 of the four goalie categories…no other goalie can say that.

  15. patthehockeyfan - Dec 24, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    I see no PHT article about last night’s Kings’ game; so, my remarks about Martin Jones are made here.

    Thank you, Martin Jones! Thank you for allowing us Kings’ fans to exhale from holding our collective breath when Jonathan Quick went down with an injury. Thank you for the joy you provided to us Kings’ fans as we watched your amazing career start. Thank you for allowing all of us to witness the beginning of what promises to be a stellar and historical career. In our wildest dreams, we couldn’t have imagined a better display of excellence.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all on PHT!

  16. charastein - Dec 24, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Tuukka. Two “U”s, two “K”s. two points.

    Chara like little net bear with his crazy Norwegian death metal music. He does a good job keeping the puck out of the net most nights. Aside from one bad blow out vs. Detroit, he’s been strong this year.

    Now he just has to pull a “Tim Thomas” and bring the Cup back to Boston so Chara can hold it high and yell, “YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

  17. pastabelly - Dec 24, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Harding is the best story (his story needs to be told a bit more) and he’s an easy guy to root for.

    Tuukka is just so consistent and really limits soft goals (other than one bad game against Detroit) and also takes games off only when the Bruins are playing a non-playoff type team. It’s hard not to side with Tuukka. I don’t think Tuukka, alone, will be enough for Finland to earn a medal in February.

  18. pastabelly - Dec 24, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    I don’t get the support here for Fleury. His save percentage is not at the top and neither is his record. He is bouncing back nice from his second straight horrible playoffs, but I wouldn’t bet against his case of the yips coming back once the playoffs roll around again. Canada will have a better shot at gold with Price (hard for me to say as a Bruins fan) than Fleury or Luongo.

  19. thedavesiknowiknow - Dec 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    They’ll find a way to give it Henrik.

  20. iHeartHockey31 - Dec 24, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    Steve Mason :) for Vezina

  21. themagicfanguy - Dec 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    It should be Bishop.

  22. capsfan14 - Dec 26, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    So many good goalies out there that get no recognition because of the horrible defense infront of them. *cough* Kari Lehtonen *cough*

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