The Vezina, probably one of the more forgotten trophies in the league and much like the Norris despite the goaltenders impact on a team whoever has the best statistics at the end of the regular season wins usually. Last years winner was Pekka Rinne, who posted 42 wins in 59 starts, a 2.31 goals against (GAA), .927 save percentage, allowed 134 goals against on 1,840 shots and posted 8 shutouts.
This top-four years candidates are as follows…
- Frederick Anderson: Yes the Leafs are good, sure it may not be difficult some nights for Anderson but he plays a huge role in why the Leafs are successful this year. Anderson has started in the fourth most games this year (24), has collected wins 16 of those 24 starts (16-8-0 record) posts a 2.50 goals against (1st among goalies with 20+ games started) has a .926 save percentage (1st among goalies with 20+ games started). Anderson sees a lot more time than most starters do, he is in almost every night for the Leafs and of the 30 games the Leafs have played Anderson has not played in six of them, nearly unheard of. He did the same thing last year just not as well, but this year he has come out hot and has not slowed down one bit. The Leafs starter certainly deserves Vezina credit.
- Marc Andre Fleury: It was a big discussion last year if Fleury should win it, although he started in fewer games he was a major reason the Golden Knights went as far as they did last year. Fleury had a unforgettable 2017-18 season and even with the Golden Knights starting out a little slow Fleury has still been the back bone to this teams success. Fleury has started in the most games among all goalies (28), has a 2.51 goals against (2nd among all goalies with 20+ starts) and .908 save percentage. Fleury’s save percentage is probably one of the reasons some may look the other way on him, but look at the minutes he is seeing. He has not started in just four Vegas games this season, has seen 5th most shots against and is still producing for Vegas, not mention he is first among all goalies in wins (17) and shutouts (5). Fleury continues this streak and does not miss time it will tough to leave him out of the Vezina talk this year.
- John Gibson: A goalie that does not get enough credit for what he does. The Ducks have Ryan Miller sure but Miller does not do what Gibson does. Gibson has started in 25 games this year, 3rd most among all goalies, has a 2.59 GAA, .925 save percentage and has seen the second most shots against this year (832). Gibson has played in all but 7 games for the Ducks and the reason Anaheim is where they are right now is in large part because of Gibson. If he stays healthy he needs to be a nominee at least. His playoff struggles concern some but Vezina is regular season production so that should not be an issue.
- Pekka Rinne: It would be tough not to mention last years Vezina winner in this discussion. Although Rinne missed sometime this year he still does have 19 games started not as many as the other three but even in those 19 games, Rinne has posted a 1.96 GAA, .930 save percentage (both lead the league among goalies), and he does have two shutouts in just 19 starts. Sure it is tough to say if Rinne deserves the same recognition as the other three. Even when he was not playing the Predators did fine but Rinne is still a top-tier goalie in the league as he is healthy now he will see a lot more time. He is probably a border line number four right now at this point in the season but come after the All-Star break when we re-address this conversation I would expect him to be within the top-three among Vezina talk.