If you believe everything you read, you'd be under the assumption that there is no real threat to take down Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in this year's Vezina Trophy running.
Then again, if you had believed everything you've ever read, you'd also believe that Marilyn Monroe's death was an inside job or that Taylor Swift is some kind of untameable sex maniac (God, I wish).
Often in order to get to the truth, you've got to dig for it yourself. At the end of the regular season, I decided to pick out the players who I would personally vote for for the various player awards handed out at the end of the season, such as the Hart, Norris, and Calder trophies.
I figured the Vezina Trophy would be one of the easier awards to pick a winner for. I hadn't personally looked into the numbers myself, but everything I had read stated Miller was on his way to winning his first career Vezina, in runaway fashion in some reports.
Unfortunately for Ryan, I respectfully disagree that he should win the Vezina, as the numbers I looked over several times just don't lie.
If the Vezina Trophy is awarded by individual statistics (like it should be), the recipient should be (drum roll please)...
Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Before I get slammed for being a Devils "homer," let me explain.
First off, congratulations to Ryan Miller on a fantastic season. He had a true career year, reaching highs in wins, shutouts, goals against, and save percentage.
But when looking at the overall numbers, Brodeur should win. Brodeur won 45 games, while Miller only won 41. Granted, Miller did win 41 in eight fewer starts than Brodeur won 45, but you'd have to suspect that Miller would have just about the same number as Brodeur if he started those eight extra games. In that category, they're just about even.
The area where Brodeur has a big advantage over Miller is shutouts. He had a total of nine shutouts this season, which was tops in the NHL. Miller was pretty far behind him in this category, with only five shutouts on the season. Miller's last shutout of the 2010 season came on Jan. 3 at Montreal. Since then, Brodeur has recorded five shutouts of his own.
As far as GAA (goals-against average) goes, Miller and Brodeur are back-to-back. Miller ranked second in the league with a 2.22 GAA, and Brodeur was right behind him in third at 2.24. But keep in mind, Miller had a lighter workload than Brodeur's, and Brodeur was able to keep up the pace of a 2.2 goals against with a larger sample size. That's pretty impressive.
It's a toss-up, but I disagree with the seemingly overall consensus that Miller should be handed the Vezina. Yes, Miller had a career year, but the Vezina isn't awarded for career years. It's awarded for the most excellent goalie, and I think Brodeur has been just as dominant as Miller in the basic numbers and goes above and beyond Miller when it comes to shutouts.
Plus, it'd be poetic justice for Brodeur to win in the same year he became the first (and probably last) goaltender in NHL history to win 600 career games.
I'm not saying Miller won't win, because guess what? He probably will. His numbers are comparable to Brodeur's, and he still has voters' hearts after his Olympic performance. I'm not expecting Miller, the current American hero, to get beat out by anyone, especially the writers who had him picked to win the Vezina in January and are now too stubborn to change their minds.
But Martin Brodeur gets my vote—not because he's a New Jersey Devil, but because he was the better goaltender by the slightest of margins.
Yet again, it's a toss-up, and everyone's vote counts. Miller will haul in the popular vote, but can Brodeur get enough steam going on his campaign to beat out Mr. USA?
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