by PuckStopsHere on 10/21/10 at 02:42 PM ET
It is informative to track the leaders for the NHL awards throughout the season and see when the eventual winners take over as the leaders for the possible awards. In many cases, the early season leaders do not wind up winning the awards, but sometimes they do. The early Vezina Trophy leader is likely Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins. He has stopped 95 of 97 shots taken on him. He has a 0.67 goals against average and a .979 saves percentage. These are remarkable numbers that nobody can maintain over an entire season. However, it is quite reasonable to imagine Thomas will have a very good season. Thomas is the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner.
Last year, he lost his number one goaltending position in Boston to rookie Tuukka Rask. This is not because of poor play of Thomas but because Rask had a league leading saves percentage.
So far this year, Thomas has the best saves percentage in the league. Rask has only played one game so far and it was nothing special. He allowed four goals and lost. The Rask and Thomas goaltending tandem is a very good one. It is quite likely the best one in the NHL. There is a good chance both have strong seasons, but neither are serious Vezina candidates because neither play enough games. Right now, Tim Thomas is the hot hand and Boston will use him.
Tim Thomas’s career is an interesting one. Thomas bounced around the minor leagues with a few NHL shots for the first several years of his career. In 2006/07, when Thomas was 32 years old, he was an NHL starting goalie for the first time. Since that point, he has been one of the top goalies in hockey. A Vezina Trophy season for Thomas this year would make him a serious Hall of Fame candidate. It is far too early to count on that happening, but Thomas is off to an incredible start in his first three games played.
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