The race for the Vezina Trophy was a lot like the one for the Selke: it was a one horse race. At least, if the 30 (is it 31 now?) NHL General Managers know anything about the position, there is one obvious winner. We’ll talk about him now and figure out who is going to be the first and second loser.
“The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League‘s (NHL) goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position”. At the end of each season, the thirty NHL general managers vote to determine the winner. It is named in honour of Georges Vezina, goaltender of the Montreal Canadiens from 1910 until 1925, who died in 1926 of tuberculosis. The Trophy was first awarded after the 1926–27 NHL season and was awarded to the top goaltender.”
The award for the top goaltender in the NHL is not about wins and losses, and to predict the nominees we have decided to break it down with some numbers one normally does not see in a box score. They are:
QS% (QUALITY START %) – A Quality Start is a start with a Save Percentage greater than the league average, and this stat is about the percentage of starts that are quality ones.
GA%- (Goals Allowed %) – Goals Allowed % relative to league goals allowed %. 100 is average, but lower the better.
GSAA – (Goals Saved Above Average) – The Goals this goalie prevented given his save percentage and shots faced vs. the league average save percentage on the same number of shots.
Then of course, there are Wins, Losses, Goals Against Average, Save Percentage and Shutouts.
The First Loser:
BRADEN HOLTBY – WSH – 63GP – 42W – 13L – 6OTL – 2.07GAA – 0.925SV% – 9SO
0.619QS% (T-3rd) – 87GA%- (6th) – 19.25GSAA (2nd)
Braden Holtby is a major reason why the Washington Capitals won the President’s Trophy and were heavy favourites to win the Stanley Cup in 2017. He actually had better numbers this season than he did when he won the Vezina Trophy a year ago and would have been poised to pick up his second in a row if it wasn’t for that pesky Russian.
The Second Loser:
DEVAN DUBNYK – MIN – 65GP – 40W – 19L – 5OTL – 2.25GAA – 0.923SV% – 5SO
0.619QS% (T-3rd) – 88GA%- (7th) – 18.41GSAA (3rd)
This one would be Dubnyk’s 2nd nomination for the Vezina in the last three years, and somehow he put up better numbers back in 2014-2015. It was still a very strong year from the Canadian netminder, and he beats out a stud like Carey Price in the nominee picks. The Minnesota Wild were the team they were this year because of Dubnyk, no question.
Honourable Mentions: Carey Price – MTL, John Gibson – ANA
The Big Winner:
SERGEI BOBROVSKY – CBJ – 63GP – 41W – 17L – 5OTL – 2.06GAA – 0.931SV% – 7SO
0.651QS% (1st) – 79GA%- (1st) – 33.45GSAA (1st)
The 28 year old Russian goaltender is on the verge of his second Vezina Trophy win, but his first in a full season (his first win came in the 2013 lockout year). After having a few tough years in Columbus since, Bobrovsky broke out again and posted the best numbers in the league and it wasn’t really close. If he doesn’t win the Vezina then there is a big problem here.