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Vezina Watch – Return of the King

Vezina Watch – Return of the King

An injury to Carey Price blew the race for the Vezina Trophy wide open, with veterans Henrik Lundqvist and Marc-Andre Fleury staking their claim as the game’s number one netminder in the Canadiens’ stars absence.

Frederik Andersen’s Vezina credentials also receive a significant boost by virtue of the Ducks finding a little offence. The Dane has been outstanding through the first month of the new season, but with Anaheim struggling to score the 26-year old had become something of a sympathetic figure, doing his level best in difficult circumstances.

The Herning native might be one to look out for in the coming weeks if Anaheim have truly turned the corner, and he keeps making saves like this:

Andersen1

All statistics used in our rankings are taken from War-on-Ice.com. Because every goaltender sees a different amount of time on the power play and penalty kill, unless otherwise stated, we are showing 5-on-5 stats to offer a better comparison of the save percentage statistics shown.

For those unfamiliar with these stats, Adjusted Save Percentage accounts for some differences in the kinds of shots each goaltender faces, mostly location but also some rebounds and rush chances. High Danger Save percentage includes only shots from the slot. This is the part of adjusted save percentage that appears to predict future performance best and thus may tell us the most about individual goaltenders. More information is available here.

1. Henrik Lundqvist

2015-16 Record
Wins: 6
Shut Outs: 0
Save %: 95.49
Adj Save %: 95.25
High Danger Save %: 90.62
Goals Against Average: 1.88

Lundqvist has traditionally been a slow starter, but has been outstanding for the Rangers through the first month of this season – consistently bubbling under the surface in our Vezina Watch rankings.

The 33-year old has allowed more than 2 goals just once this season, against Winnipeg on October 13th, and is one of the league’s statistical leaders, helping power the Rangers to a three-game winning streak.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury

2015-16 Record
Wins: 7
Shut Outs: 2
Save %: 95.20
Adj Save %: 95.15
High Danger Save %: 88.89
Goals Against Average: 1.74

Like Lundqvist, Fleury has been on the edge of our top three for the past fortnight, with wins over Washington, Toronto and Vancouver pushing the 2003 1st overall pick to the fore.

Fleury turned away all 21-shots against the Maple Leafs to record his second shut out of the season, with the Penguins now riding high on a five game winning streak.

3. Carey Price

2015-16 Record
Wins: 7
Shut Outs: 2
Save %: 94.06
Adj Save %: 93.63
High Danger Save %: 87.76
Goals Against Average: 2.01

Injury has played its part in Price’s fall from the top spot, with the superstar stopper placed on the injured reserve due to a lower-body problem.

The 28-year old struggled prior to being shelved however, giving up five goals in Vancouver before shipping four in Edmonton two nights later. Price had only surrendered nine goals in his previous seven outings.

Honourable Mentions

Whilst St. Louis deal with a glut of injuries, 25-year old Jake Allen has ensured the club aren’t left singing the Blues thanks to a string of strong performances.

Allen has given up just six goals in his last five appearances, including a split game on Wednesday against the Blackhawks, in which partner Brian Elliott was injured.

With the former Ottawa and Colorado netminder sidelined with a head injury, Allen may now have a golden opportunity to seize the starting role after two seasons of splitting time with veteran Elliott.

And Finally…

Preparations for next year’s World Cup are already under way, with nations hiring Coaches and management teams starting to draw up potential rosters ahead of the tournament next fall.

One name that previously would never have been considered for a spot on Team Canada is Martin Jones, but the Sharks goaltender has clearly impressed someone during the first month of this campaign to become a surprise part of the conversation.

About The Author

Rob McGregor

A member of the InGoal Magazine family since 2014, Rob is also Media Manager for the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) in the UK and a former goaltender in Great Britain's third tier National League (NIHL).