Predictions for the 2016-17 Vezina Trophy

The 2016-16 NHL season is coming to a close and what better way to cap off the year by taking a look at the front runners for the NHL Award winners? The Awards ceremony, held in Las Vegas, does not take place until after the Stanley Cup has been hoisted, but there is no harm in getting our predictions in now.

The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s 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.

Predictions For The 2015-16 Vezina Trophy

Honourable Mention:

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens: 61 GP, 37-19-5, 2.26 GAA, .924 SV%., 3 SO

After playing only 12 games last season due to being sidelined with an injury, Carey Price has had a bounce back season for the Canadiens and has lead his team to clinch the Atlantic Division. Fans were asking themselves if Price would be back to the stellar form that won him the Vezina in 2014-15, and he indeed rose up to those standards.

The reason why Price is here instead of with the finalists is because he had a slump in the middle of the season, but as the Canadiens got rid of their coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien, the goaltender has seen himself get back to his previous form. Price is definitely one of the biggest components to his team, being able to keep is team atop the division, even if only four of the Habs’ forwards have scored during the entire month of February. If Price can keep up the good work during the playoffs and next season, he would be back into the top contenders for the title of best goalie in the league.

Price may not be in contention for the award right now, but he has a chance to lead his team to the cup if Montreal can defeat the New York Rangers in the first round.

Finalists:

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild: 65 GP, 40-19-5, 2.25 GAA, .923 SV%, 5 SO. 

After a struggle in the beginning of his career, Devan Dubnyk was acquired in a gamble by the Wild in 2015. Little did they know that this goaltender that was playing in the AHL in 2013-2014 would be a future Vezina nominee. He has had a career high season in wins on his way to lead the Wild to the playoffs.

He has been consistently playing well this campaign. Appearing in 65 games, Dubnyk is tied for second most games played after Cam Talbot, and has won a good majority of his starts.  

Minnesota has made moves to bolster their offense this season, getting the likes of Eric Staal and Martin Hanzal, but Dubnyk is the one keeping the Wild solid at the back. Every time they have Dubnyk in net, the Wild have a much greater chance at winning those games. He put up a winning season. If the Wild, incuding Dubnyk, continue to play the way they have been playing, they can move on to the second round in the playoffs. He is in the top 10 for most goaltender statistics, which makes him a perfect candidate for the Vezina.

Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals: 62 GP, 41-16-0, 2.08 GAA, .925 SV%, 3 SO. 

Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby has performed well this season as he has lead his team to clinch he President’s Trophy. He obviously tried to continue the roll he was on last season, and seeing as this is his third consecutive season he has reached the 40-win mark, he has indeed done just that.

Washington has one of the most complete teams in the entire league, and the goaltending is no different. With the least amount of goals against all season as a team, the Caps have once again clinched their division with a good number of games to spare.

Even though he has played well, the fact that he didn’t get as high of stats as last year, as well as the fact that his two competitors are very tough to beat, will make it difficult for him to win the Vezina for a second straight year. However, he and his team will have a good run in the playoffs, as his team is so well balanced and a powerful opponent for any team that made it into the postseason. Holtby gives his team the best chance at winning the Stanley Cup.

Winner

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets: 62 GP, 41-16-5, 2.02 GAA, .933 SV%, 7 SO. 

Another former Vezina winner having an impressive season, Bobrovsky has lead John Tortorella’s Blue Jackets to the playoffs in a dominant fashion. He is tied for the second most games won consecutively by a goaltender due to his 16-game win streak, which is an improvement compared to him mustering up 15 of them (wins) in total last season.

The Blue Jackets were not expected to win so many games, but with Bobrovsky’s consistently good performances, winning 41 of his 62 games to be precise, he has spearheaded Columbus’ run to the postseason. His numbers have been quite good as well, as his save percentage is an admirable .933, and an impressive seven shutouts. All in all, he has been an outstanding stonewall behind the Jackets’ back line.

It may just be Bobrovsky’s year once again, but the competition is tough this time. He has squashed his previous career high in wins that got him the Vezina, so this is one of the many reasons that could see Bobrovsky win it for the second time in his career.

via Last Word on Hockey, by Alex Michaels

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