Early Vezina Trophy Predictions

Vezina Trophy Predictions
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In a season untouched by Covid, we would have seen the NHL reach its halfway point by now. Due to postponements, and a season pause at Christmas, only one team has reached the 41-game mark thus far. Regardless, we will be taking an early look at the leading goaltenders in the Vezina Trophy predictions conversation.

Vezina Trophy Predictions Halfway-ish Into the Season

As it currently stands, a record of 101 goalies have played in the NHL this season. Though we have seen many former stars regress this season, this has been a year where the top goaltenders have been hotly debated.

Top Three

Igor Shesterkin

Shesterkin currently leads the NHL in save percentage and goals against average (GAA) with a .939 and 1.99 respectively. The 26-year-old is only in his second full NHL season and holds a remarkable 17-4-2 record. He also leads the league with a goals saved above expected (GSAX) of 20.7. Furthermore, goaltending coaches around the world marvel at Shesterkin’s seamless crease movements. The only thing standing between Shesterkin and the award is his games played.

Despite his record, he is tied for seventh in the league in wins. New York Rangers fans held their breath in early December when Shesterkin was temporarily placed on the team’s Injured Reserve. As a result, the Rangers have used four goalies this season already. The Vezina Trophy has a long history of wins being a deciding factor. Because of this, Shesterkin must continue to help the Rangers pad their lead in the Metropolitan if he wants to claim his first award.

Jack Campbell

How can anyone not like Jack Campbell? After being labelled a bust, the former 11th overall pick rediscovered his game in Los Angeles before being given the opportunity of a lifetime with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Campbell currently boasts a save percentage of .931 and a GAA of 2.13. The Michigan product sits fifth in the league in games played with a record of 19-5-3. Campbell holds a GSAX of 15.2 and is third in the NHL with a high danger save percentage of .820. The fan favourite was recently named to the Atlantic Division all-star team and has remained consistently heroic behind an inconsistent Leafs defence. With a history of injuries plaguing strong efforts, the key for Campbell for the remainder of the season will be staying healthy.

Juuse Saros

Saros has been a star behind a surprising Nashville Predators team so far. The 26-year-old should have been nominated for the Vezina last year and has been playing with something to prove this season. Saros leads the league in games played while posting a .926 save percentage and 2.35 GAA. Listed at 5’11, the Finish-born goaltender is excelling in his first season without his mentor Pekka Rinne. The Predators have not provided him with a reliable backup and will continue to utilize him at every chance. Saros’s endurance will be the key to him staying on top of the Vezina Trophy predictions this season.

In the Mix

Tristan Jarry

Jarry has been having an exceptional bounceback season after his embarrassing first-round performance last year. His .929 save percentage and 2.05 GAA are third in the NHL, and his .865 high danger save percentage places him first. The Pittsburgh Penguins all-star game representative sits fourth in the league in games played with 29 and will look to continue proving his doubters wrong.

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Vasilevskiy has a shot at the Vezina every season. The Russian phenom is the backbone of a stacked Tampa Bay Lightning team that is unsurprisingly tied for first in the NHL. Vasilevskiy leads all goaltenders in wins with 22, however, he sits tied for seventh in save percentage with a .924. As the most consistent goaltender of the past few seasons, and last year’s Conn Smythe winner, Vasilevskiy continues to chase down his second Vezina Trophy.

Frederik Andersen

After losing his starting job in Toronto last year, Andersen has been one of the top goaltenders in the league this season with the Carolina Hurricanes. With a record of 19-6-0, his .928 save percentage places fourth in the NHL, and his 2.03 GAA sits second. With an injury-riddled last season still fresh in his mind, Andersen’s health will be a deciding factor in his staying in the Vezina race.

(Fancy stats from moneypuck.com)

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