by PuckStopsHere on 08/16/12 at 01:50 AM ET
When I posted the top 20 players by goals versus threshold, Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes leads the league. Given that the goals versus threshold system overly selects goaltending, it is not surprising that a goalie leads the league. Statistically it is clear why Mike Smith leads the league. Three goalies played the majority of their team’s games and all had roughly the same saves percentage - leading all clear number one goalies. They were Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes. Smith faced more shots than either of the other two. He also found himself overlooked for the Vezina Trophy voting as he did not get a nomination. I picked Smith second in the Vezina race. The NHL General Managers who vote for the Vezina Trophy are usually quite conservative and it is hard to get votes if you do not already have a reputation as a top goalie when the season begins.
Mike Smith was considered a failure as he left Tampa Bay as a free agent. He had struggled there after suffering from concussion problems after showing some real promise earlier in his career. Phoenix was smart enough to see his value and sign him up. This is a significant reason for their success and for Tampa Bay’s failure in 2011/12
Mike Smith is not likely to repeat a season at the same value next year. I would be very surprised if he was the goals versus threshold leader next year, but i think he will be a good goalie. He was very successful this season an his league leading goals versus threshold mark shows it. He was deserving of a stronger showing in the post-season awards than he actually showed..
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