by PuckStopsHere on 12/12/08 at 03:47 PM ET
I have been picking Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins as the Vezina Trophy leader this season. He is clearly having a good season and it is a surprise to see him doing as well as he is, but there is another goalie who has been playing even better and his status as my new Vezina leader is even more surprising. I think Craig Anderson of the Florida Panthers is the current Vezina leader. Anderson has taken over the number one goaltender job on Florida from Tomas Vokoun. This is no easy feat as Vokoun is a proven All Star goalie. Anderson currently leads the NHL with a .946 saves percentage and is second to Thomas with a 1.94 GAA despite facing significantly more shots per game.
Anderson’s good play has been a story this season and I have written about him, but I have hesitated to call him a Vezina candidate until he got a few more games played. That has happened now. Anderson has been playing every game for the Panthers in the past while and he is up to 15 games played. Thomas is only at 17 games played and has recently been splitting time with teammate Manny Fernandez.
I don’t think there is a trophy leader at this point in the season who is more improbable than Anderson. Last season, Anderson was a seldom used backup who only appeared in 17 games. It would not have been unreasonable to predict the same this year. However, he is already up to 15 games. He should exceed his 17 game total by Christmas.
Craig Anderson has played better than any other goalie in the league and thus is the Vezina frontrunner. It will be interesting to see if he can keep this up and remain the Florida Panthers number one goalie.
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