Pekka Rinne named a finalist for Vezina Trophy

Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabers took home the Vezina Trophy in 2010. You've got to admit, hockey has the coolest trophies in sports.

Today the NHL announced that Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has been named as one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the league's best goalie as voted upon by the general managers of all 30 teams.

While Steve Sullivan has won the Masterton Trophy, Barry Trotz been nominated for the Jack Adams and David Poile General Manager of the Year, this is the first time a Predator is up for major hardware awarded for on-ice performance. Rinne's nomination is well-deserved, and while he won't be favored to win, it's some refreshing recognition that doesn't often come to hockey in the Music City. 

Follow after the jump as we review the candidacy of the three finalists...


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

207

Nov 03, 1982


GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Pekka Rinne 64 3789 33 22 9 134 2.12 1905 1771 .930 6

Rinne filled a void left by the departure of Tomas Vokoun in 2007 as the undisputed #1 goaltender in Nashville, putting together a consistent, and at times dominating, campaign. Despite missing a good chunk of time due to injury, Rinne finished 2nd in the NHL in both GAA and save percentage, the latter of which was good for 14th in NHL history. 

There's a good argument to be made that no one in the league was more valuable to his team than Rinne, but then, that's more in line with the criteria for the Hart Trophy, not the Vezina. Was Pekka Rinne the best goaltender in the NHL this season? At times, absolutely, but it will be almost impossible to beat the following candidate...


Tim Thomas

#30 / Goalie / Boston Bruins

5-11

201

Apr 15, 1974


GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Tim Thomas 57 3364 35 11 9 112 2.00 1811 1699 .938 9

Thomas, who won this award two seasons ago, is the prohibitive favorite this year after setting a new NHL record with his .938 save percentage. When you consider seasons in which a goalie played at least 20 games, Thomas now owns the #1 and #5 save percentage performances of all time, a remarkable achievement for a guy whose career is supposed to be winding down at age 37.

On the other hand, Thomas played behind a much better team than Rinne, and the drop-off to Tuukka Rask is nowhere near as steep as the one from Rinne to Anders Lindback. That being said, the numbers don't lie, so you can expect Thomas to go home with the hardware despite playing in just 57 games. 


Roberto Luongo

#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks

6-3

217

Apr 04, 1979


GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Roberto Luongo 60 3590 38 15 126 2.11 1753 1627 .928 4

Ah, Bobby Lou - one of the league's very best regular season goalies. Nominated for the Vezina twice in his career, Luongo has never won a major NHL award, and I don't think he will, either. 

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