This year there have been some really standout performances by NHL goaltenders. The numbers early on are absolutely fantastic, and it looks like there could be a lot of people tossing their proverbial hats into the run of Vezina discussions.
However, I feel that so far this year Jonathan Quick has been slightly above the rest.
First, let's look at his numbers.
The Connecticut native picked up his league-leading fourth shutout last night; he is fifth with a 2.01 goals against average, tied for seventh with 10 wins and is fourth among consistent starters with a .933 save percentage.
Now many of you are probably saying okay, those are good numbers, but there are guys out there with better.
However, Quick has started a staggering 20 of 24 games for the Kings. He has faced the third-most shots in the league as well.
Comparably, only Pekka Rinne, Carey Price and Cam Ward have started more games, and their numbers aren't nearly as sound as Quick's (Rinne has been very good though) with the number of starts (Ward: 3.10 and .905; Rinne: 2.47 and 9.25; Price: 2.26 and .916).
Those currently in front of Quick statistically have played far fewer games and faced far fewer shots. Tim Thomas, Nikolai Khabibulin, Henrik Lundqvist and Brian Elliott have played anywhere from five to eight games less then Quick.
But let's get away from goaltending statistics for a moment.
Quick, at age 25, is backstopping a Kings team that has struggled horrifically in the early going with offense.
The team tallies a dismal 21st in five-on-five scoring and 26th in goals per game, averaging just 2.33.
If you say, well, he has a fantastic defense in front of him, he does; however, they still come in only 16th in the league in shots allowed per game, so they don't exactly lock down the shots he faces either.
Quick has been a workhorse for the Kings, starting in a lot of games, coming up with the big saves and really getting this team a lot of wins when it shouldn't have them. A team that scores as little as the Kings would be in a much worse position in the standings if it didn't have the solid goaltending of Quick to fall back on.
His value this season has been tremendous, and if he can keep it up, there is no doubt in my mind that Quick can claim a Vezina Trophy, or at least be in real consideration for it.
Regardless of the overall picture of awards and accolades, Jonathan Quick has been my MVP for the Kings thus far.
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