The NHL announced yesterday, April 17th, that goaltenders Pekka Rinne, Connor Hellebuyck, and Andrei Vasilevskiy have been nominated for the Vezina Trophy. But who should win the trophy and is there a clear-cut favorite?
Pekka Rinne is this years favorite to win the Vezina. Rinne had an overall regular season record of 42-13-4 with a 2.31 GAA and .927 SV% with 8 shutouts. Rinne lead his team (Nashville Predators) to having the best record in the NHL and helped them win the President’s Trophy.
Among goaltenders who have played 40+ games this season, Rinne sits in second place behind Antti Raanta with a .927 SV% and in third place behind Raanta and Fleury with a 2.31 GAA. Among those three, Rinne played the most games at 59.
Among goaltenders who have played 50+ games, Rinne sits in first place in both GAA and SV%. He has been the backbone of the Preds team this season.
I believe this is the fourth time Rinne has been nominated for the Vezina and it seems like this year is his year as he has put on a stellar performance.
Connor Hellebuyck has had a phenomenal season for the Winnipeg Jets. The goaltender racked up a record of 44-11-9 with a 2.36 GAA and .924 SV% and 6 shutouts. He led the Jets to having their best record in franchise history with 114 points. He has been a huge component in the success of the Jets this season.
Among goaltenders who have played 40+ games this season, Hellebuyck sits in 5th place in SV% with a .924 trailing to Rinne, Raanta, Fleury and Gibson. His 2.36 GAA though is good enough for 4th place behind Raanta, Fleury and Rinne.
Among goaltenders who have played 50+ games this season, Hellebuyck sits in second place behind Rinne with a 2.36 GAA and is third in SV% with a .924 behind Rinne and Gibson.
I don’t think this is Hellebuyck’s year as Rinne had a better season, but next year very well could be.
In my opinion, when compared to the other goaltenders, Vasilevskiy doesn’t deserve the Vezina. He did lead the Lightning to winning the Eastern Conference, but the Bruins were biting at their heels all season. Vasilevskiy ended up with a 44-17-3 record and a 2.62 GAA and .920 SV% with 8 shutouts.
Among goaltenders who have played 40+ games this season, Vasilevskiy’s GAA is 12th… not nearly as good as his fellow nominees. His .920 SV% is 8th, still not nearly as good as the other nominees.
Among goaltenders who have played 50+ games this season, his GAA is 10th and his SV% is 7th.
Vasilevskiy started out the season great, but as time went on he seemed to lose his game. The Lightning definitely struggled during the last few weeks of the season and Vasilevskiy could be partially to blame. Overall I don’t think he stands a chance at winning the Vezina next to his competitors.
My prediction? Pekka Rinne will win his first Vezina after having one of his best seasons yet.
Photo: USA Today