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Predators vs Canucks features battle of MVP candidates Rinne, Sedin

Tonight’s game between the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks is more than just a possible preview of the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoff matchups, it also provides a chance to see two of the leading candidates for the Hart Memorial Trophy square off against one another. The Hart, which is voted upon by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, goes to “the player judged to be the most valuable to his team.”

For the Canucks, who have led the overall NHL standings for most of the season, and appear destined for their first Presidents Trophy, their leading scorer Daniel Sedin makes an obvious case for MVP. But in goal for the Predators, Pekka Rinne has put together an outstanding season, and if anything, makes an even stronger case.

Follow after the jump as we consider their two candidacies, along with a few other major contenders…

He’s 2nd in Save Percentage, 2nd in GAA, and in particular, is 2nd in Save % against power play shots among goalies with at least 40 GP. All this, on a team which stands 25th in Goals Per Game, the worst among teams on track for the playoffs.

If that isn’t “most valuable” material, I don’t know what is. Without Rinne’s presence in goal, the Preds would be out of the playoffs and ruing the fact that Ottawa will enjoy their 1st-round draft pick this summer. Tom Awad’s Goals Vs Threshold statistic (numbers as of March 7) estimates that Rinne’s impact on the Preds has been 2nd-greatest in the NHL this season, worth 29.3 goals as compared to a theoretical replacement-level player. Using the rough guide that every 6 goals translates to a marginal win over the course of a season, that gives Rinne credit for about 10 points in the standings.

For all the injury-related challenges that Nashville has faced, that performance has made the difference between dismal failure, and possible home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

He’s 2nd in Save Percentage, 2nd in GAA, and in particular, is 2nd in Save % against power play shots among goalies with at least 40 GP. All this, on a team which stands 25th in Goals Per Game, the worst among teams on track for the playoffs.

If that isn’t “most valuable” material, I don’t know what is. Without Rinne’s presence in goal, the Preds would be out of the playoffs and ruing the fact that Ottawa will enjoy their 1st-round draft pick this summer. Tom Awad’s Goals Vs Threshold statistic (numbers as of March 7) estimates that Rinne’s impact on the Preds has been 2nd-greatest in the NHL this season, worth 29.3 goals as compared to a theoretical replacement-level player. Using the rough guide that every 6 goals translates to a marginal win over the course of a season, that gives Rinne credit for about 10 points in the standings.

For all the injury-related challenges that Nashville has faced, that performance has made the difference between dismal failure, and possible home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.


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