During February 2010, Ryan Miller introduced himself to the world. Ryan's performance during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics will be remembered fondly in the game's history.
Ryan then took that experience and added it to a great NHL season for the Buffalo Sabres to take home his first Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender.
For the 2009 and 2010 season, Ryan's played in 69 of the Sabres 82 games and earning 41 wins, which was fourth amongst NHL goalies. Ryan also worked over 4,000 minutes played for the second time in his seven NHL seasons.
Adding to Ryan's stats, he had the second best Goals Against Average (GAA) in the league of 2.22 maintaining a Save Percentage (SV%) of .929, which was also second best in the NHL. It should be noted he also collected five shutouts.
So is Ryan still the best in the game? Is a second Vezina Trophy coming to the Michigan State University alum?
This article will take a very early look at the leading candidates for the 2010-2011 NHL Vezina Trophy.
To be a candidate a goalie must be a clear No. 1 tender for his own team. This goalie should be expected to play a large number of games and still maintain a top notch GAA and SV%, plus collecting wins and shutouts.
Goalie tandems or duos that split time will not make a run to the Vezina. If one goalie steps up and takes the clear No. 1 spot, that could change. The best example I can use to explain this is Tim Thomas. The 2008-2009 Vezina winner, Thomas will be unlikely to reclaim his clear No. 1 rank in Boston over Tuukka Rask.
That being said, after four starts Tim has been great, collecting four wins and only allowing three pucks behind him. Tuukka had a great year last year, and will at the very least split but likely play 70 percent of the Bruins games.
It's early, but here are the 10 goalies who have thrown their names into the race.