Who Ya Got? Midseason Awards Talk Begins

Andrew Gross of the Record has handed out his midseason awards.  He’s left out the Selke and the Lady Byng and the Masterson, etc., but he did the top four, and there’s only one that I have an issue with:

Top goalie: Brian Elliott (Blues) — I see Henrik Lundqvist every night and I know he’s playing the best hockey of his career, a heck of a statement. But so is Elliott, who has never been in the yearly Vezina Trophy conversation like Lundqvist. Elliott is second in the NHL in goals-against (1.62) and save percentage (.940), ahead of the third-place Lundqvist in both. Plus, Elliott’s Blues thoroughly beat Lundqvist’s Rangers, 4-1, on Dec. 15. The Bruins’ Tuukka Rask leads the league in the two categories, but Tim Thomas is Boston’s best goalie.

OK, I follow some of his logic right up until he makes his decision.  Let’s add some more data into the equations.  Elliott’s save percentage is .940 to Lundqvist’s .939.  It’s not like he’s a far ahead 2nd to Hank’s 3rd.  They’re basically tied, especially when you consider that Lundqvist has made 9 more starts than Elliott, who isn’t even the undisputed #1 goalie on his team.  In those 9 starts, he’s made over 300 more saves than Elliott, while allowing only 22 more goals.  That works out to a .936 save percentage for those shots faced.

Elliott has also lost 3 of his last 4 starts, giving up 3 goals in each of the losses.  Save percentage over his last 5 games?  .913.  That’s seems more in line with where he’s going to land.  I’m not saying that’s bad either.  It’s a really nice number for a goalie that’s on pace to start 40 games in a season.  I’m not saying that’s he’s turning into a pumpkin just yet, but it’s clear that the pace that he set in the first half of the season is unsustainable for him.  He’s not going to be a 1.62 GAA goalie at the end of the season.

I recognize that this is a first half award, not a season long vote, but I think that Hank’s been better even in the first half.  And I simply don’t think that a head-to-head loss in St. Louis should be any kind of tiebreaker.

Maybe I’m just taking this too seriously.