When I first heard the opening line to "Marching Bands of Manhattan," my mind immediately went to the 23-year-old Swedish goaltender. As I type this, Lundqvist is 12-4. His 2.07 goals-against average is third in the NHL. His .928 save percentage is tied for fourth. Most important, he has given the Rangers competence at the back end. You don't win in the NHL with good goaltending, you win with great goaltending. And Lundy has been great. Great in regulation, great in overtime, great in shootouts. He has changed the entire feel of the Rangers. Jaromir Jagr is the league MVP right now and a big reason for the Rangers' success. Still, Lundqvist's play has changed the entire aura of the Rangers, and for that, he should be the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year.
One could make the argument that Ovechkin has made his team significantly better this year. I don't really see it too much with Crosby who's surrounded by 'stars' such as Lemieux, Gonchar, Palffy, LeClair, Recchi. Other than Kolzig Ovechkin is pretty much on his own. Lundqvist is already the 2nd best player on our team. Not only is he putting up fantastic numbers he's been a difference maker. And unlike the Penguins the Rangers are a team that is apparently going somewhere. So yeah Crosby is impressive but no to as of now him being the best rookie this year. And he certainly IMO falls below Lundqvist and maybe even Phaneuf. So that choice would be just political. That's an opinion.
And although he won't be in the running I have to say that Prucha is a hell of a nice bonus for us and Moore, Hollweg, Tyutin and Kondratiev have all been proving they belong.
Saying that Lundqvist should be the leading candidate for rookie of the year is in no way obsurd. Not only has he meant more for his team but take a look at the stats which compares the players against their peers - Sid the kid and Ovechkin rank 27th and 23rd in points while Lundy is 3rd in GAA and 4th is SPCT. Now if we were to post this on the main board how many would agree that Lundqvist belongs with Crosby, Ovechkin and Phaneuf. One other player who should be mentioned is Meszaros for Ottawa. Svatos and Prucha are a tier below right now.
So is Lundqvist starting today? It's been Weeks every time the game shows over here...
Who knows how things will look at the end of the year, but right now Lundqvists stats and record is amazing. He would IMO be top 3 for the Vezina Trophy atleast, though Turco and Kipper have picked it up lately.
Anyway Svatos, Prucha and Phaneuf have been, in perspective, really good and wouldn't be bad candidates, but they aren't close to be mentioned as top 3-5 in their positions. Lundqvist is in a league of his own in that cathegory. The only one who can challenge him right now is Ovechkin. AO is produceing under special situation in Washington and he is a really special player.
Right now I would rank the calder race like this:
Nittymäki is on the rise in Philly while Labbs are free falling. Prucha is having a amazing year, but considering the compatition he have to keep scoring like he have he entire year, meaning 30-35 goals, to even break into the top 4...
What probably will cost Lundqvist the Calder in the end could be his game totals. If he only plays 40-45 games, with Weekes getting the majority of starts in Febuary due to the Olympocs, it will be tough. Especially if Ovechkin keeps it up.