To the surprise of nobody, the NHL announced today that Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is one of three finalists for the 2010-11 Vezina Trophy, awarded annually "to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position".
Thomas is one of three finalists, along with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and Nashville's Pekka Rinne -- but it would be quite the upset if either one of them beat out Thomas.
Thomas' season went down in the record books as, statistically speaking, the best ever. His single-season save percentage, a mark of .938, squeaked by the previous record of .937 set by Dominik Hasek in 1998-99.
Thomas also ended the regular season with a record of 35-11-9, and had a GAA (goals against average) of 2.00. He posted nine shutouts this season along the way, a career high.
Thomas' resurgence as one of, if not the, top goalies in the league is somewhat of a surprise. After his Vezina Trophy season in 2008-09, his production dropped off considerably last season.
He was just 17-18, and his GAA rose from 2.10 to 2.56. By the end of the season and into the playoffs, Tuukka Rask was the Bruins' go-to guy, with hopes that the B's could trade Thomas during the offseason.
That isn't the case anymore. Rask is now the backup behind Thomas, and it should stay that way for the rest of the postseason.
The winner will be announced on June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards.