Rinne named Vezina Finalist

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Earlier this afternoon, the NHL announced its nominees for the Vezina Trophy, an award given to the league’s best goaltender. Here’s an excerpt from the official news release:

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, as voted on by general managers of all NHL clubs. This is Rinne’s third career nomination for the award, given annually to the NHL goaltender judged to be the best at his position. Rinne was nominated in 2011 and 2012, but is yet to win the award.

After missing significant time due to a hip infection in 2013-14, Rinne returned to form in the 2014-15 campaign, finishing the season with 41 wins (tied for second in the NHL) and among the League leaders in goals-against average (2.18) and save percentage (.923).

Nashville’s nominee for the 2015 Masterton Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, Rinne recorded two, six-game winning streaks and posted four shutouts during the regular season.

On March 14 in Los Angeles, Rinne made 23 saves to record his 200th career NHL victory, and the 600th all-time for the franchise, in his 370th career appearance, all of which had come as a member of the Preds. Against the Rangers on Feb. 7, the Kempele, Finland, native became the fastest (in terms of games played) goaltender to record 30 wins (39 games played) since the NHL adopted the shootout in 2005-06 and just the third goalie in the NHL’s expansion era to tally 30 wins in 39 games or less.

Also nominated are Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild. I totally understand Price, but Dubnyk? He has been exceptionally well when Minnesota has needed him, but so has a ton of other backup goaltenders. Strangely enough, I am not surprised he was nominated; too many writers discussing it these past few months. As much as I think Rinne deserves this award, I am afraid it will end up in Price’s hands. Not only is he heavily favored, he has been excruciatingly consistent.

The NHL Awards are slated for June 24th, time TBA, in Las Vegas.

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