The Vezina Trophy, one of hockeys greatest awards, is awarded annually to a National Hockey League goaltender who is adjudged at being the best goalie in the league. At the end of each season, the thirty-one NHL general managers vote to determine the winner.
One of Hockeys greatest goalies and an innovator of the goalie mask, Jaques Plante who played for the Montreal Canadiens holds the record for winning the Vezina seven times, five of them consecutively from the 1954-55 season till the 61-62 season.
Here are some candidates in the running for this year’s Vezina Trophy and a few I think will be candidates in the next few years.
1. ANDREI VASILEVSKIY, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Vasy, as he’s known by his teammates, has been the most dependable No. 1 netminder in the league of late, finishing third in the Vezina vote in 2017-18 and winning the award last season.
The 25-year-olds style of fast explosive netminding is a thrill to watch for any hockey fan (especially if you’re a fan of goalies).
His impressive numbers are helped by the talented roster he has in front of him, not saying that’s the reason his numbers are good but does help.
Overall Vasy is a solid, consistent performer that stands out in a long list of candidates.
He has a real shot to repeat as Vezina winner. That hasn’t happened since Marty Brodeur did it in 2007 and 2008.
2. JORDAN BINNINGTON, ST. LOUIS BLUES
Some say “Over-rated” some say “he’s the next Andrew Hammond” but Jordan Binnington is the real deal.
After the struggling Blues who sat bottom of the NHL standings in January 2019, Jordan Binnington was called up to try to get their appalling goaltending situation sorted.
That he did!! The St.Louis Blues would then go on a run of consecutive wins with Binnington sitting nicely between the pipes.
Not only making history by winning their division and making it to the playoffs but winning the Stanley Cup!! A feat never achieved before in the history of the NHL.
It’s obvious that Binnington’s name will be mentioned in the shortlist of candidates, Do I think he’s worthy of it? Yes I do, but he’s not my personal favourite on the list. What he did for the Blues last season will never be matched again and he deserves credit in the cup win.
3. CARTER HART, PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Hart is a stud!! He’s Philly’s greatest hope in net since Ron Hextall it’s apparent after his amazing rookie year. Hart has faced a difficult workload in his first year, and didn’t have much help on a struggling Philly team. He still posted an impressive winning record and did it at age 20.
He joined Carey Price as the only two goalies of the salary-cap era to start more than 20 games for a team at 20 or younger.
Natural progression should help Hart improve on his own, and he should have much better defensive play in front of him with Kevin Hayes joining the forwards and Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun bringing veteran hockey sense to the D-core.
New Flyers coach Alain Vigneault has talked about Brian Elliott being his first choice back up but its Hart’s net.
Vigneault took teams to the Cup final with star No. 1 netminders in the past in Roberto Luongo and Henrik Lundqvist, and perhaps someday Vigneault will do the same with the NHL’s Next Big Thing in net, Carter Hart.
Overall Carter Hart is a favourite of mine in the running for the Vezina.
4. FREDERIK ANDERSEN, TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Andersen has been at the forefront of the Maple Leafs goaltending this season but has had a few injuries to deal with as well, so as you can imagine his numbers are not as impressive as some.
Due to these injuries and poor performances from back up netminders, the Maple Leafs have struggled to maintain any consistency this season. Is he worthy of the Vezina?
In my opinion, there are a lot more deserving goalies this season, would this be the case if Freddy didn’t get injured? We don’t know, but what we do know is if he was healthy all season he would definitely be going towards the top of the list.
5.TUUKKA RASK, BOSTON BRUINS
A previous winner and without a doubt, one of the best goalies in the league whose name is at the top of the list every year.
After taking Boston to the Stanley Cup final last year only to lose game 7 to St.Louis, Tukka has been as predominantly consistent as he was last season. Currently, with 26 wins in 41 games this season and bearing in mind, it’s a vote by the NHL GM’s anything could happen.
Connor Hellebuyck- Winnipeg Jets
Matt Murray- Pittsburgh Penguins
Sergei Bobrovsky- Florida Panthers
Marc Andre Fleury- Vegas Golden Knights
Robin Lehner- Vegas Golden Knights
My Prediction: It’s a tough one this year, although I think the GM’s will go with Binnington, I’m going to go with Carter Hart the kid is amazing and at only 21 he’s only just getting started!!