Since King Henrik broke into the NHL, he has shown he is an elite goaltender. The 29 year-old goaltender already has an extensive list of accomplishments.
Since 2005, Henrik has won Olympic Gold, made the NHL All-Star team, and lead the NHL in shutouts, twice. What is more impressive is he was a Vezina finalist three times in his first three years. The fact that Lundqvist is the only goaltender to record 30-plus wins in his first six seasons arguably makes him one of the best in the league.
For Henrik's entire career, he has been on a team with an average offense at best. Most of the responsibilities of keeping the New York Rangers in the game fell on him. To say the least, he has answered that call, only missing the playoffs once.
Henrik's career numbers put him on pace to be among the top goalies to ever play the game. Right now, Lundqvist's regular season numbers break down like this:
The Rangers are a better team from last year. They added a set up man in Brad Richards and picked up Mike Rupp to add a little more toughness. Dubinsky and Boyle re-signed, but the Rangers are still working on the Callahan situation.
Who will win the Vezina?
The Rangers power play should go from anemic to respectable. Last year the power play converted 16.9 percent of the time. Richards' passing ability and Gaborik's quick release should help that number rise to 19-20 percent.
The penalty killing unit has once again been among the top in the league, successfully killing 83.7 percent of the time. What made the Rangers dangerous on the man disadvantage was the fact that they still were a threat to score.
With a No. 1 line and the rest of the teams providing the secondary scoring, the Rangers have greater potential of putting the puck in the net. Thus giving Lundqvist long overdue goal support. This extra goal support should only improve Lundqvist's numbers.
On top of the improved offensive capability, the Rangers team as a whole sacrifice their body to block shots. The team makes it a point to ensure a minimal amount of pucks make it Henrik Lundqvist's way.
Henrik Lundqvist has always found himself in the middle of the Vezina debate. This year will be no different, and I foresee another great year from Henrik.
And now for my 2011-2012 prediction: