NHL Awards 2012: Explanations for My Vezina & Norris Trophy Ballots

My vote for the Vezina trophy had Mike Smith first. Here is making a pad save on non-pictured New Jersey Devil. This was when the Coyotes defeated the Devils 5-3 way back in October. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Over at the SB Nation NHL hub, the collective bloggers on the network have voted their selections for the various NHL regular season awards for the 2011-12 season. The voting process was simple: name a player for the third, second, and first place. Each vote is valued accordingly and the most amount of points wins. Since I hastily put together a ballot based on a slap-dash amount of research, I figure I should explain my ballots. I missed the first day due to that whole "Game 4" event; but I'll provide an explanation as the awards are announced on the non-game days going forward.

On Monday, SB Nation named Jonathan Quick as their winner of the Vezina trophy, for most outstanding goaltender. Coming in second place was Henrik Lundqvist, current scourage of the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. Third place went to Phoenix's Mike Smith. My ballot had all three names but in different order. I went to NHL.com and organized all the goaltenders by even strength save percentage. While Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak led the list by far among regular goaltenders, the two Blues netminders split time whereas Quick, Lundqvist, and Smith were clearly their team's starters. Smith led the trio with a 93.6% save percentage and Quick finished just ahead of Lundqvist, though both rounded up to 93.3%. So that's how I voted: Smith, Quick, Lundqvist. All three were excellent for their respective teams, even all the way into the postseason, so I wouldn't necessarily disagree with any disagreement of that order. Or even the possible inclusion of Pekka Rinne.

On Tuesday, SB Nation announced that Shea Weber won their selection for the Norris as the league's most outstanding defenseman. I will admit, I didn't do a good job with my ballot. I didn't even vote for Weber, who was excellent but also didn't really drive the play forward all that well. Granted, Nashville was often defending. I chose the perennial Nicklas Lidstrom third as he had another season of taking on the toughs, playing big minutes, driving the play forward, and generally commanding the play on the ice. I selected Erik Karlsson second because he simply makes things happen when he's on the ice. I don't think he's like Mike Green in that he's all offense and little defense. True, his ridiculous 19 goals and 59 assists made him, well, outstanding. However, he also played a ton of minutes and was second behind Filip Kuba in Corsi Rel QoC, so those weren't easy minutes either. If Karlsson was so poor in his own end, he wouldn't average 25 minutes a game, now would he? I controversially chose Brent Seabrook first. I was the only one to vote for Seabrook. I was enamored by the fact he had the fifth highest Corsi Rel QoC in the league, he had the highest Corsi Rel QoC with a positive on-ice Corsi rate (read: he won his very difficult match-ups), he played a ton of minutes, he put up a respectable amount of points, and he had to be great given that Chicago's blueline beyond him and Duncan Keith isn't impressive. Seabrook had to be excellent and it seems to me that he was. In retrospect, I should have swapped him and Lidstrom, who had a vastly superior on-ice Corsi rate. I also expect plenty of criticism and what-not.

In any case, that's how I voted. In the meantime, feel free to lambast me for my ballots and/or discuss who won the awards. I don't think any Devils will win, but I will say that some Devils players got some votes for some of the awards. You can probably guess at least one of them. You can also use the comments as an open thread for tonight's Western Conference Finals game between Phoenix and Los Angeles. Thank you for reading.

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