The NHL’s masked men get their turn in the spotlight today as we survey the landscape for the 2016 Vezina (for top goalie).
Last year, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne looked like he had the award wrapped up mid-season. But an injury to the big Finn and an unprecedented second half from Montreal’s Carey Price turned the voting into a runaway in favor of the Canadian (who also took home the Hart).
Price’s phenomenal year between the pipes has him sitting as the odds-on favorite to take home his second straight trophy. But keep in mind that no one has repeated as Vezina winner since the peerless Marty Brodeur won his fourth and second in a row in 2008.
Since then, we’ve seen six different winners in seven years (with ex-Bruin Tim Thomas winning in both 2009 and 2011).
Who’s liable to swoop in and usurp Price as top tender? If Rinne can stay healthy, he’ll be a top contender. The Predators play a suffocating brand of defense that will keep his GAA sharp even if he goes through a rough patch, save percentage-wise.
The Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, the 2012 winner, is another rock-solid goalie with a great defense in front of him. Like Rinne, he suffered from injuries last year which precluded him from serious consideration. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll be in the conversation all year long.
If you’re in the mood to ride a dark horse, look no further than the man who took over in New York when Lundqvist went down: Cam Talbot. Now a member of the Edmonton Oilers – who have suffered from bad cases of goalie-itis, goalie-rhea, and goalie-son’s disease over several years – Talbot will get a lot of love from voters if he can backstop the young squad to a playoff berth.
But enough non-numbers. Let’s look at some numbers!
2015-16 Vezina Trophy Odds:
Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens): 4/1
Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers): 6/1
Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators): 6/1
Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild): 10/1
Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins): 10/1
Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings): 12/1
Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals): 12/1
Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets): 12/1
Cam Talbot (Edmonton Oilers): 15/1
Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks): 15/1
(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_8259) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)