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Hunt for the 2013 Vezina

With a lot of the regular faces we associate with the Vezina seeming to struggle a bit early on this season, we take a look at who might have their name etched in the record books as the 2013 Vezina winner.

1. Craig Anderson

Interesting fact, the 31 year old Craig Anderson has finished .500 or better 17 out of 23 stints in his 15 year, recorded, hockey life. Including nine out of twelve in the NHL. This year he's boasted an 8-4-2 record. Let me explain something, he has not had much of a team around him for most of his career. Despite his great records, he has only made the playoffs twice in his career. That will change in a couple of months because of his outstanding play this year thus far. He has recorded two shutouts already, with a .950 save percentage and a 1.57 goals against average. He is far and away the best goalie there is right now this year.

It's time for this guy to get his due. He's going to win the Vezina this year. While, Rinne, Rask, and Lundqvist will get themselves more into the mix than they are now, but this guy is the tits. Ottawa has a chance to go the distance if they can maybe make a move or two. They have a solid team that plays well together but could use some more veteran leadership. 

2. Corey Crawford

He is the reason the Blackhawks have tied an NHL record for longest consecutive points streak to start a season. I said at the beginning of the year, they have the scariest team is they can get consistant play between the pipes. Corey Crawford has been killing it this year and you have seen the wreckage they have left behind. They/he still hasn't lost a game in regulation. He's only allowing 1.65 goals a game, saving nearly 94% of the shots he faces. He's only put up one shutout but the season is still relatively young. He's been the final reason they have been so good.

3. Pekka Rinne

This might be the lowest he gets to be all year in this race. He's just simply that good. However, he has exactly zero Vezina's before, despite being probably the best goalie over the past three seasons. It's only a matter of time before he gets one. With a rough start to Nashville's year, maybe he takes over and wills them to the playoffs. Not that the rough start has been his fault. He's only allowing 1.67 goals a game while saving nearly 94% of shots faced. Also he has three shutouts on the year, a league best. He'll get one eventually but I'm not so sure it's this year.

4. Viktor Fasth

Viktor fuckin Fasth. Wow, what a start to the year. Eight wins, zero losses for the 30 year old undrafted rookie. He's allowing only 1.78 goals a game, so he's been an absolute stud between the pipes. This Anaheim team has been incredible early on. They've just found ways to win and he has lead them there. He just signed a contract extension for two years, $5.8 million. Good for him. I'm not sure the Ducks are bet-able at this point though. I can't figure out if they're legit or not. They don't seem to be, yet they keep winning. We almost have to take them seriously now. They're one of the more interesting stories thus far.

5. Tuukka Rask

I'm so sick of Mr. and Mrs. Rask for making my hometown goalie have such a ridiculous name. The name is fine I guess it's the spelling. Tuka would have been fine. We don't need two u's and two k's. Enough complaining. Tuukka, has been at the top of his game since he's started here in Boston. He hasn't really disappointed yet. He was a major factor in that 3-0 collapse to the Flyers, but he was young. He's grown since then. He's a great goalie, already at 25. The Bruins smothering defense without a doubt is a major factor, but nothing really gets by this guy. This Bruins team is also the best team in the Eastern Conference so he's going to get quite the look to win this award. 

6. Carey Price

Carey Price is just now hitting his prime. He's locked up in Montreal for at least six more years, and man is he going to be a force. He's already taken Montreal from dead last in the East last year, to currently first. He's going to be a joy to watch for all hockey fans out there for years to come. I just hate that he's on the Candadiens.

7. Antti Niemi

Here's the other team/goalie that needed to step up moreso than anyone short of Corey Crawford. The Sharks are as good as their goaltending is, basically. They're a good team, with solid offense and defense. If they can get solid goaltending they can make a playoff run. But for now they fall back to earth and try and pick themselves up.

8. Kari Lehtonen

He's allowed over 2 goals a game but just barely. He is the tipping point for the Stars. They can get three goals and win 3-2 but can they get to four is another question. He's been solid so far this year, but he started off this way last year. It's on him to stand on his head to allow this team to have any chance. I'm not sure he has it in him and I'm not sure they're defense has it in them. But so far pretty good. No shutouts is a touch discouraging.

9. Marc Andre-Fleury

He seems to be more of a product of the Penguins at this point. I'm sort of concerned. Fleury looked to be a top notch goalie for a while a few years ago. But now he seems mediocre at best. 2.34 goals against, while it might work when you have such a talented team, is far from stellar. As is his 91% save rate and zero shutouts. He's still a top 10 goalie, but I'm losing faith in this guy.

10. Roberto Luongo

Yes Luongo is above Lundqvist. I love that guy but he has disappointed. Now Luongo. In his seven games he hasn't lost in regulation and has only allowed 1.63 goals a night. His losses are more the offense not scoring than him sucking. As bad as he notoriously is, he's been near great thus far while splitting time. He seems to have earned the top spot back from Corey Schneider.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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