NEW YORK (April 22, 2011) -- Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
The general managers of the 30 NHL clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Luongo backstopped the Canucks to their finest regular season in franchise history, capturing the Presidents' Trophy for best record and posting the lowest team goals-against average (2.20). Luongo went 38-15-7 in 60 appearances, registering the best goals-against average in his 11-year NHL career (2.11) and his top save percentage since joining the Canucks in 2006-07 (.928). He tied for the League lead in victories, ranked second in goals-against average and fourth in save percentage. Luongo is a Vezina finalist for the third time, having finished third in the voting in 2004 and second in 2007.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Rinne played a critical role in securing the Predators' sixth playoff berth in the past seven seasons by registering career-best totals in all major categories, going 33-22-9 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts in 64 games. He ranked second among NHL goaltenders in save percentage and placed third in goals-against average.
Beginning with a 4-1 win at Minnesota on New Year's Eve, the first-time Vezina Trophy finalist started 42 of the Predators' final 46 games, allowing two goals or fewer 28 times. He posted 25 wins in that span, second in the League behind San Jose's Antti Niemi (27).
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
Thomas enjoyed a record-setting bounceback season after undergoing off-season hip surgery. He won his first eight decisions, which broke a club record set by Tiny Thompson in 1937-38, and won his first nine road games -- becoming the first NHL goaltender to do so since Chicago's Glenn Hall in 1965-66. The 2009 Vezina Trophy winner finished the season with a 35-11-9 record and .938 save percentage, eclipsing Dominik Hasek's .937 with Buffalo in 1998-99 as the best since the statistic was introduced in 1976-77. Thomas also led all goaltenders in goals-against average (2.00) and ranked second in shutouts (nine).
Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the National Hockey League in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, the outstanding Canadiens goaltender who collapsed during an NHL game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later. Until the 1981-82 season, the goaltender (s) of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season were awarded the Vezina Trophy.