The Vezina Trophy is given to the best NHL goaltender every year voted by the general managers and although the league has abruptly stopped due to the Coronavirus, the NHL awards will still be taking place sometime during the summer. There are your typical goalies up for the ballot this year, Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars, Connor Hellebuyck Winnipeg Jets and Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues and there are a few that have taken a nosedive this season such as Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights, Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks and despite scoring a goal this season, Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators (12th goalie in league history to score a goal) will not make the final cut. As of March 2nd, Rask has the highest odds, this is impressive due to the fact he has missed a month due to a concussion on top of backup, Jaroslav Halak stepping up to the plate and playing like a Vezina caliber goalie. Bruins fans would really like Halak to take the prize home. The combination of Halak and Rask playing split duty has boiled down to the Bruins being the best team in the NHL! What about the best goalie in the Western Conference? Jordan Binnington hasn’t slowed down from his magical postseason run from last year and if the season resumes, he will continue to be the key contributor for the St. Louis Blues to win the Stanley Cup back to back years.
Currently, Lightning goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy is number five in odds, are we sure this ranking isn’t too low? He has played like his typical self with a 35 - 14 - 3 record along with 3 shutouts and a .917 save percentage. His stats look great on paper but there’s a good chance he will not repeat as the Vezina Trophy winner. Ben Bishop sneaks his way into fourth with a 21 - 16 - 4 record on a borderline playoff team, the Dallas Stars. Bishop has played well with 2 shutouts and a steller .920 save percentage but his record will cost him when decision time comes. Coming in third, we have Blues tendy, Jordan Binnington who continues to shock the hockey world as the Blues are cruising as the best team in the Weastren Conference. Binnington has a 30 - 13 - 7 record with 3 shutouts and a .912 save percentage, staying healthy for the full season might give him a slight edge over the leading candidate and he is continuing to emerge as the league's next superstar within the next couple of seasons. At number two we have Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck who has been the heart and soul for the team. The Jets lack a fast defense but no need to worry, Hellebuyck can continue playing like a rock, 31 - 21 - 5 record with an astonishing 6 shutouts and a .922 save percentage. When most people talk about the top five goalies in the league, Hellebuyck gets lost in the mix as the Jets are still very young and aren't expected to go on a deep playoff run. The goalie who has the best odds for the Vezina Trophy is none other than Bruins star, Tuuuuuuukkkkaaaaa, a near perfect 26 - 8 - 6 record with 5 shutouts and a .929 save percentage!
Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy with a league best, 39 wins with 6 shutouts and a .925 save percentage, is there a chance for a repeat? What the heck happened to Holtby? The 2015-16 winner hasn’t pitched a shutout and has a woeful .897 save percentage, the worst of his career. On the flip side, honorable mention to Avalanche rookie Pavel Francouz and Blue Jackets’ young gun, Elvis Merzlikins who have made their franchises a playoff contender.
The secret why Rask and Halak are a top contender for best goalie duo in the league is because of Bruce Cassidy. When he replaced Claude Julien with 27 games left in the 2017-2018 season, he made bold and risky moves like starting Rask 53 games ahead of Anton Khudobin and 45 games since Halak arrived. Not a bad strategy for the Bruins to keep a refreshed goalie available for each game. The combination of Rask and Halak works!