NY Rangers Goalie Henrik Lundqvist: How He'll Follow Up His Vezina Trophy Season
"Never make predictions, especially about the future." - Casey Stengel
The late, great Hall of Fame manager for the New York Yankees had many sayings just like this on the tip of his tongue.
"Stengelese," if you will.
However, with all due respect to the man who led the Bronx Bombers to 10 American League pennants and seven World Series titles, this article is going to feature a few predictions.
So what will Lundqvist do for an encore in 2013?
The following slides will provide you with the fearless forecast.
Please Note: Predictions are based on the premise of an 82-game schedule. None will be given here about the league's ongoing labor issues.
Player quotes included in the following slides are courtesy of sportsquotation.blogspot.com.
The GAA Will Be Low
"If he sees a shot, he's going to save it." - Alexander Ovechkin
During the last three seasons, Lundqvist's goals-against average has gone down, down, down.
2009 - 2010: 2.38
2010 - 2011: 2.28
2011 - 2012: 1.97
There's no reason why that trend of excellence won't continue in 2013.
The King's GAA will be even lower this season, at 1.90.
No. 30 Will Win More Than 30 Again
"Hey, what do you have to do to beat this guy?" - Former Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau
Well, Bruce, you have to do a lot.
Over the past three seasons, the King's win total has gone up, up, up.
2009 - 2010: 35
2010 - 2011: 36
2011 - 2012: 39
Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history to win 30 games in his first seven seasons. This season will make it eight.
No. 30 will win 40 games in 2013.
Double-Digit Donuts Are in Store
"We're not the first team Lundqvist has done this to." - New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer after the King threw a goose egg at his team in Game 3 of last season's Eastern Conference finals.
Double digits will be in order again.
Count on 10 shutouts for Lundqvist this season.
The Save Percentage Will Be Worth Savoring
"You watch how Henrik plays, he's one of the strongest competitors I've seen as an athlete." - John Tortorella
Over the last five seasons, Lundqvist's save percentage has increased impressively:
2007 - 2008: .912
2008 - 2009: .916
2009 - 2010: .921
2010 - 2011: .923
2011 - 2012: .930
Based on this statistical climb, there's no reason why the King won't defend his territory with greatness in 2013.
Lundqvist's save percentage will be at .930 again this season.
Now, check out the next slide for one final prediction: What the King can expect at season's end, based on the fearless forecasting you've read so far.
The King Will Be Honored for Another Royal Performance
"It doesn't really matter what point it is in the season. Every time he knows he's playing, he's so focused." - Ryan McDonagh
Rangers D-man Ryan McDonagh gets to see this focus in full display during every game. And it's Lundqvist's laser-like approach to his position, his preparedness and the stats he'll accumulate that will help him rise to the top of the goaltending mountain once again.
The King will win his second consecutive Vezina Trophy in 2013.
Bonus Slide: Keep clicking to find out everything you wanted to know about the Vezina Trophy, but were afraid to ask.
Vezina and His Trophy: Did You Know?
Georges Vezina was nicknamed the "Chicoutimi Cucumber" for his calm composure while in goal. He hailed from Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada.
From the time he joined the Canadiens in 1910 until being forced to retire due to illness in 1925, Vezina never missed a game or allowed a substitution. He played in 328 consecutive regular-season games and an additional 39 playoff games.
Vezina died of tuberculosis at the age of 39 on March 27, 1926.
Upon Vezina's death, the trophy was donated to the NHL by the Canadiens' owners—Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich—to honour Vezina permanently.
The trophy was first awarded at the end of the 1926-27 NHL season to George Hainsworth, who had come to Montreal to succeed Vezina.
Goaltenders for the Montreal Canadiens have won the Vezina 28 times.
Before 1982, the trophy was awarded to goaltenders who played a minimum of 25 games for the team and allowed the fewest goals.
During the 1973-74 NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers finished tied for the fewest goals against; therefore, their respective goaltenders, Tony Esposito and Bernie Parent, were both awarded the trophy. This is the only time that it would be shared between two players from different teams.
The Vezina Trophy is voted on by the general managers of all NHL clubs.