Tuukka Rask

 

With the announcement of the three finalists for the NHL Rookie of the Year, some (well yours truly at least) thought there may have been one deserving candidate left off the ballot.  Certainly Tyler Myers, Matt Duchene and Jimmy Howard are all worthy candidates, but there is one player whom a strong case could be made for.

 

Should we compare Jimmy Howard to Tuukka Rask? Of course we should!  Had Rask started as many games as Howard did, he would have recorded 34 wins. Rask led the entire NHL in goals-against-average and save percentage, no easy feat on a 14th place team overall.

 

No doubt that Howard was the go to guy on the Red Wings with Chris Osgood turning in consistently horrendous performances. One argument is that Detroit really turned it around when Johan Franzen came back from knee surgery in early February. Howard's record before Franzen returned was 20-13-6 and 17-3-4 after.  Detroit began playing like the Red Wings of old and it may not have mattered who was in net when this happened.

 

Both Rask and Howard outperformed their (much) more experienced crease colleagues. The two rookies posted significantly better numbers than last season's Vezina trophy winner Tim Thomas and three time Stanley Cup winner Chris Osgood:

 

 

GP

GS

W

L

OTL

GAA

SV%

SO

Thomas

43

43

17

18

8

2.56

.910

5

Rask

45

39

22

12

5

1.97

.930

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howard

63

61

37

15

10

2.26

.920

3

Osgood

23

21

7

9

4

3.02

.888

1

 

Detroit finished seventh overall in NHL standings and boasted a defence that consisted of six time Norris trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom (four Stanley Cups, one Conn Smythe, 12 All-Star games), Brian Rafalski (three Stanley Cups, two Olympic Silvers, three NHL All-Star appearances), Niklas Kronwall (one Stanley Cup, one Olympic Gold) and Brad Stuart (one Stanley Cup).

 

Boston was 14th overall in NHL standings. Their defence includes Zdeno Chara (one Norris, six All-Star appearances), Dennis Wideman, Matt Hunwick and Johnny Boychuk. Not exactly a Hall-of-Fame collection.

 

One argument against Rask was that he didn't play enough games. Taking a look back at previous Calder winning goaltenders, two stand out who played a similar number of games:

 

 

YR

GP

W

L

T

GAA

SV%

SO

Barrasso

83-84

42

26

12

3

2.84

.893

2

Brodeur

93-94

47

27

11

6

2.40

.915

3

 

Tom Barrasso was a rarity in the NHL, an 18-year-old rookie goaltender. It was very unlikely that any player at the tender age of 18 would play in the NHL, let alone a goaltender. He was lucky to play for a team that finished fourth overall in the league. That certainly helped his Calder aspirations.

 

Other worthy rookie candidates from that year included Steve Yzerman who recorded 39 goals and 87 points in 80 games, Calgary's Hakan Loob, who scored 30 goals and 55 points in 77 games and Hartford's Sylvain Turgeon, who logged 40 goals and 72 points in 76 games in his first NHL season.

 

Martin Brodeur's Devils were a second place team in the league the year he broke in as a rookie. Other worthy Calder considerations were the Flyers Mikael Renberg who recorded 38 goals and 82 points in 83 games (pre-Legion of Doom), Edmonton's Jason Arnott who had 68 points in 78 games and Hartford's Chris Pronger who logged a ton of ice time and had a 30 point, 113 penalty minute rookie season.

 

Here are the 2010 Calder candidate’s numbers:

 

 

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PiM

PPP

SOG

Duchene

81

24

31

55

+1

16

21

180

Myers

82

11

37

48

+13

32

16

104

 

 

GP

GS

W

L

OTL

GAA

SV%

SO

Howard

63

61

37

15

10

2.26

.920

3

 

My money is on Tyler Myers to bring home the bacon. The bottom line is that it would be pretty hard to exclude any of the three finalists to include Rask. It’s difficult to ignore Howard’s 37 wins and it’s not like his corollary numbers are bad. The depth of the rookie class since the lockout has been outstanding.

 

Philadelphia/Boston Series

 

I thought the Flyers were done like dinner and now they have fought back to force a game seven showdown tomorrow. This has been one of my favourite second round series to watch, it’s been fast-paced and hard-hitting. Both teams have had to deal with their share of injuries and players making comebacks. We should be in for a dandy on Friday.

 

It should come as no surprise that Mike Richards leads the Flyers with 16 playoff points. Chris Pronger is doing what was anticipated when he was acquired, playing strong defense and has 11 points in 11 games.

 

Super sophomore Claude Giroux has ten points and Matt Carle surprisingly has recorded seven points in 11 contests this playoff season. Ville Leino has five points in seven games in limited ice time. He played just over 11 minutes in last night’s game.

 

Daniel Briere has been a human highlight reel in these playoffs. Unfortunately that cuts both ways. He's the second leading point scorer for Philadelphia this post season with 13 points, but has taken some untimely penalties in four of the six games.

 

Dennis Wideman went from 50 points last season to 30 points this year in regular season scoring. Last year Wideman had seven points in 11 playoff games. This year, he has 11 points in 12 playoff contests. Just something to keep in mind for next year’s playoffs!

 

I thought Miroslav Satan only signed on with the Bruins to get ready for the Olympics. Apparently I was wrong; the evil one has ten points in 12 post-season games.

 

Ancient winger Mark Recchi has nine points in 12 playoff games. Judging by his post season play, Recchi is not yet ready for pasture and apparently the 42-year-old wants to play again next season.


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Comments (4)add comment

RNS said:

sexymountain
... Wow. Whenever I see goalies I automatically think this is the work of Goldman, guess not.
May 15, 2010
Votes: +0

Russ said:

The Comish
... Thanks for the props Justin - always appreciate your opinion, especially where the art of goaltending is discussed!

Great point dino. I understand that the three "finalist" were the top three vote getters, but consciously used the word ballot, not thinking of how it would sound. I do think that Rask will likely end up fourth and shouldn't be any lower than fifth in the balloting.

I'm sure the voters had a hard time deciding their order, there were some very good candidates this year.

Thanks for your well worded post - much appreciated!
May 14, 2010
Votes: +0

dino said:

rticinelli
... Just for the record, the announcement of Duchene, Myers and Howard are as the finalists (as you stated in the lead). This is not a "ballot" that has been created for voting that will NOW take place. The voting has already happened, and the winner has already been decided. Duchene, Myers and Howard are simply the three highest vote getters. So, technically, Rask has not been excluded from anything... he just didn't get enough votes to be announced as one of the three finalists.

I'm not arguing for or against Rask. I think a good argument could be made that he was one of the three most valuable rookies this season (you made a good argument, actually). Just clearing up a common misconception that the announced three finalists for an award actually comprise the final ballot for voting. That is not the case.

Once the award-winner is announced and the final voting is made public, I wouldn't be surprised to see Rask finishing fourth or fifth, closely behind the top three.
May 14, 2010
Votes: +0

Justin Goldman said:

GoalieGuild
... Russ,

GREAT stuff dude!!! I really enjoyed reading this. You are right - Rask got hosed here. I think even if you had to judge the trophy on sheer talent alone, not how they performed, Rask should be trumping Howard. It doesn't take a genius to see what kind of elite skills Rask has, and how Howard is more of a "poor man's" goalie who excels due to mental toughness and a team that is strong around him on a consistent basis.

Rask was #1 on my rankings forever ... until he graduated ... Howard floated around all over the place. Yes, Howard had a great year and totally shocked and surprised all pundits, but he is still not considered an "elite" goalie like Rask is considered.

Great job with the history of Barrasso as well. Wasn't he like the only goalie of his era to come straight out of high school to play in the NHL?? Amazing.
May 13, 2010
Votes: +0
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