The next matchup in the Empire Writes Back best season of the 2010’s tournament is the 5th seeded 2011-12 season of Henrik Lundqvist vs. the 28th seeded 2014 season of Jacob deGrom.
First, we’ll start off with the impressive yet surprising season that deGrom had in 2014 for the New York Mets.
When deGrom was called up to pitch for the Mets in the Subway Series against the New York Yankees in May of 2014, it went somewhat unnoticed. He was called up alongside Rafael Montero, who was a highly touted prospect at the time and stole the headlines away from deGrom. However, it was deGrom who ended up stealing them back, and in a big way.
deGrom burst onto the scene, starting 22 games for the Mets the rest of the season. In those 22 games he posted a 2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 144 strikeouts in 140.1 innings pitched. He also tied an MLB record with 8 strikeouts to start a game, which happened September 15th against the Miami Marlins.
deGrom’s season would go on to net him the National League Rookie of the Year award. Most people know the pitcher deGrom is now, but back then he was unproven and fighting for a spot in the majors as a pitcher after originally starting his career in the minors as a shortstop.
If there’s anyone who would know about starting unproven and working their way toward the top, however, it would be Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist was a 7th round pick for the New York Rangers in 2000 and didn’t get called up to the NHL until the 2005-06 season. With that being said, he certainly made his mark once he was there and the 2011-12 season was no different. In 62 games for the Rangers that year, he had an incredible 1.97 goals against average, .930 save percentage, 8 shoutouts and a 39-18 record.
Lundqvist’s extremely productive season him netted him a Vezina trophy, awarded to the best goaltender in the NHL in a particular season. It was the first and most likely only Vezina win of his career.
Despite how deGrom came out of nowhere to have an amazing season, I have to give this win to Lundqvist.
The way he dominated the NHL that year was unlike anything that many have seen, and that’s why I think he deserves to advance to the next round.
Do you agree with my pick? Or do you think it should have been deGrom? Either way, be sure to vote on our Twitter, @empirewritesbck, to pick who moves on.
In the mean time, be sure to check out other content that we have on this site.
Also, be on the lookout for future matchups in the tournament as well.