Mailbag: Thomas leads for the Vezina 

January, 20, 2011

After watching an absolutely dreadful performance by the Toronto Maple Leafs (an embarrassing 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden) last night, I hope they bring more to the table tonight when they host the Anaheim Ducks in Toronto. If not, they'll probably get booed back across the border.

That matchup is part of a heavy 12-game Thursday night slate that features several key games, including the San Jose Sharks-Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators-Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning Lightning-Atlanta Thrashers. Philadelphia Flyers star defenseman Chris Pronger will return from foot surgery. I'm sure the struggling Ottawa Senators (tonight's opponent) probably wish he'd take one more game off.

Enough about that, though. It's time to take a dip into the mailbag.

(You can get in on the action in future editions and ask me questions by clicking here or on Twitter).

Tim Thomas is having a great year. Do you see him winning his second Vezina Trophy? --Samantha, Burlington, VT

At this point, he's clearly the frontrunner to win his second Vezina in three years. The numbers are silly good. Thomas has a terrific 22-4-6 record, leading the league with a 1.83 goals-against average and an out-of-this-world .945 save percentage. The veteran stopper also has seven shutouts, tying him with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist for the league lead.

At this point, if I were voting for that award (the NHL's GMs vote for the Vezina), Thomas would be my hands-down winner. Anaheim's Jonas Hiller and Lundqvist would be second and third (in that order).

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.