It seems on the surface that Tim Thomas, goaltender for the Stanley Cup champs Boston Bruins, would be the obvious selection for Goaltender of the Year. After all, if he’s good enough to help his team win the Stanley Cup in a hard-fought finale, he deserves it… Right?
Thomas took the award home in 2009 and he wasn’t expected to win. He certainly wasn’t the goaltender of the team the won the Stanley Cup. I think it may be a little too soon for Thomas to take home this award again in such a highly competitive category.
That’s one thing in Rinne’s favor.
Rinne started 64 games and finished with a 2.12 GAA that was third behind Thomas and Luongo, and a .930 save percentage that was second only to the record-setting mark established by Thomas. Rinne’s backup, Anders Lindback, was a rookie, and unlike the Canucks and Bruins, the Predators were fighting for a playoff spot in an ultra-competitive Western Conference until the final days of the regular season, leading to Rinne starting 29 of the team’s final 30 games.
Even though Rinne’s GAA wasn’t as low as the two other nominees, I saw Rinne still walks away with the award because of the impact he had on his team, which was the underdog. Granted, the Predators were eliminated in the second round, but they gave the Canucks a run for their money and posted their best post-season effort in franchise history. While the guys with the sticks are the ones that put points on the board, the goaltender is the one chiefly responsible for keeping points OFF the scoreboard. Rinne did a great job at that. In fact, he did such a wonderful job that he led his team to a history-making season. He deserves recognition and this NHL Award would be the perfect was to acknowledge his achievements this season.