The Hart Memorial Trophy goes to the player considered to be the
most valuable to his team. Even though it’s been around for 90 years, it’s only
been awarded to 54 players, so if you’re one of the guys fortunate enough to
receive it, it goes without saying that you had a special season.
While goaltenders are often the most valuable
players on their teams, history shows that it’s really difficult to win the
Hart Memorial Trophy playing in between the pipes. Only six goaltenders have
ever won the award including: Roy Worters, Chuck Rayner, Al Rollins, Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek (two years in a row) and Jose Theodore.
Although it’s been
more than a decade since a tender claimed the award, Montreal Canadiens
net minder Carey Price has a shot at it, and if he wins it, he would be the
second net minder in a row from the Habs organization to accomplish the feat. To
really break it down a little bit, let’s compare some of the numbers that the
two goaltenders managed to put up during their spectacular respective
First we look at Carey Price. Through 49 games
so far this season he has a goals against average of 2.03 and a sparkling save
percentage of 932. If both numbers stand up for the rest of the year, they
would be career highs for Price. Granted there are still a lot of games to go,
but it’s clear that he’s the biggest reason for the team’s success this season,
helping Montreal currently maintain the number two spot in the Eastern Conference.
There’s a good chance that he surpasses his
career high of 38 wins, given that he already has 29 at the moment, and if not
for an injury suffered against the New York Rangers in the playoffs last spring,
Price could have easily led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Now let’s look at
Jose Theodore. He never managed to win more than six playoff games in a given
postseason run, but during the 2001-2002 regular season, he was unbeatable in
the crease. Theodore’s save percentage that year was .931 and his goals against
average stood at 2.11. Those stats are quite impressive, but in comparison to
Price, Theodore managed only 30 wins that season, a mark the Habs’ present day
goalie will no doubt crush given that we’re only a short time removed from the
All-Star game in Columbus.
Whether or not Carey Price becomes the seventh
goalie in NHL history to win the award remains to be seen, but if Jose
Theodore’s 2001-02 season is the measuring stick for what a Hart Memorial
Trophy winning goaltender needs to do in order to claim it, it looks like Mr.
Price is on the right track.
The one man who could get in his way is Pekka Rinne whose GAA is 0.01 better and he also has one more win but Price currently has the edge by 0.003 when it comes to save percentage. If the Hart Memorial Trophy was given out today, it's safe to say that one of these two men would be the seventh goaltender to win the trophy, but there's still about 30 games to go and things could change.
Labels: Jack Choros