Vezina Trophy Finalists: Devan Dubnyk vs. Carey Price vs. Pekka Rinne

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Greg Wyshynski
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The NHL announced on Friday that Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position,” as voted on by the League’s 30 general managers. 

(Photo by Charles Laberge /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) 
(Photo by Charles Laberge /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) 

Please note the finalists are presented in alphabetical order; were they properly presented as “Vezina winner Carey Price and two guys who will watch Carey Price win the Vezina,” it would drain the award of much of the mystery that literally has hundreds of people tuning in for the NHL Awards in June. 

That said …

Why Devan Dubnyk Deserves The Vezina

The NHL says:

Eight points outside of a playoff spot when he made his team debut on Jan. 15, Dubnyk backstopped the Wild to their third consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dubnyk, who set a franchise record with 38 straight starts following his acquisition from Arizona, went 27-9-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and five shutouts after joining the Wild. He was the winning goaltender in 11 of the Wild's 12 consecutive road wins (Feb. 18 - Apr. 9) that tied the 2005-06 Red Wings for the longest such run in League history. Overall, the first-time Vezina finalist finished the season second in the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. He also ranked in the top 10 in shutouts (t-4th, 6) and wins (t-6th; 36).

The phrase “it’s an honor to be nominated” gets tossed around a lot, but seriously: Dubnyk went from the “never-was” journeyman scrap heap to quasi-starter in Arizona to starter in Minnesota, carrying the Wild to the playoffs and basically matching Price’s numbers during that roll. He doesn’t have the stats or the body of work to win the Vezina – truth be told, he’s a better Hart nominee – but what a story. 

Why Carey Price Deserves The Vezina

The NHL says:

Price led the NHL in wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933), becoming the first goaltender to pace the League in all lthree categories since Ed Belfour accomplished that feat with the Blackhawks in 1990-91. In doing so, the first-time Vezina finalist surpassed a 59-year-old franchise record for wins in one season. Jacques Plante set the former mark of 42 in 1955-56 and equaled the number in1961-62, while Ken Dryden also reached the milestone in 1975-76. Price’s save percentage was the third-highest in a single season since the NHL began tracking the stat in 1976-77. He also tied for second in the NHL and set a career high with nine shutouts, the most by a Canadiens goaltender since 1976-77 (Dryden: 10).

Insane numbers, especially when coupled with the fact the Canadiens’ offensive was straight up crap for most of the season. This performance was Hasekian in its effectiveness and importance.

Why Pekka Rinne Deserves The Vezina

The NHL says:

Rinne, who missed 51 games during the 2013-14 season due to hip surgery and a subsequent bacterial infection, returned to the ice this season and backstopped the Predators to their fifth 100-point season in franchise history and first playoff berth since 2012. He helped Nashville stay in the Central Division title race all season by going 34-7-2 in his first 43 decisions, including a 15-1-1 run from Dec. 16 - Feb. 17, and finished the campaign with a 41-17-6 record in 64 appearances. He tied for second in the NHL in wins, ranked third in goals-against average (2.18) and was seventh in save percentage (.923). A Vezina finalist for the third time, Rinne finished second in voting in 2011 and third in 2012.

Rinne’s even-strength save percentage was .932, which puts him right there with Dubnyk. His shorthanded save percentage was .862, which is why he was seventh in the NHL in the category overall. Much like Filip Forsberg, he helped Nashville establish an impressive lead in the Central from Nov.-Jan.; unlike Forsberg, he gets an award nomination out of it.

Who Wins The Vezina?

Price, and the only question left is if it ends up being unanimous. Keep in mind that even in Dominik Hasek’s best season, it wasn’t unanimous.

Who Should Win The Vezina?

Mike Smith of the Coyotes. Jokes! Totally Carey Price. 

Cases could be made for other potential finalists – Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils – but none of them were beating Price anyway.

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