Last Updated: 2017-10-02
The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltender who is “adjudged to be the best at this position” and is voted upon by the (now) thirty-one NHL general managers. Votes are cast at the end of the regular season before the playoffs begin but aren’t revealed until the NHL Awards night upon the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final.
|Vezina Memorial Trophy Odds
| Carey Price (MTL) +500
||Braden Holtby (WSH) +500
||Matt Murray (PIT) +500
|Devan Dubnyk (MIN) +800
||Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ) +1000
||Cam Talbot (EDM) +1200
|Pekka Rinne (NSH) +1500
||Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) +1500
||Tuukka Rask (BOS) +1600
|Jonathan Quick (LA) +1600
||Corey Crawford (CHI) +1600
||Jake Allen (STL) +1600
|Ben Bishop (DAL) +1800
||John Gibson (ANA) +1800
||Martin Jones (SJ) +2500
|Frederik Andersen (TOR) +2500
||Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB) +2500
||Mike Smith (CGY) +4000
|Craig Anderson (OTT) +4000
||Scott Darling (CAR) +5000
Odds Courtesy Bovada as of October 1st
Unlike with the other NHL awards, the Vezina is determined by the GMs so there’s rarely any surprises here. There’s generally no terrible opinions or throwaway votes. The winner of the Vezina is almost always the deserved winner.
This is an award which has been won by many repeat winners over the years but there’s been a first-time winner in seven of the last nine seasons. The Vezina is also generally won by a goaltender who finished on one of the top overall teams in the league that season. Over the past ten years the award has gone to a goaltender whose team finished first or second overall five times (including three of the last four). The other five times were teams in fourth, sixth, seventh, eleventh, and Sergei Bobrovsky’s first win in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season where Columbus finished 17th overall. If we can successfully pick who we think the best teams are going to be, it seems like we can narrow our selections down to a few names.
A strong case can easily be made for each of the top three favorites. Carey Price is widely considered to be the top goaltender in the world and would be a prohibitive favorite on almost any team he played for, while Braden Holtby and Matt Murray play on arguably the two best teams in the league (at least they were last season). Strong seasons are expected by other hopefuls including Devan Dubnyk in Minnesota, Cam Talbot in Edmonton and Frederik Andersen in Toronto but do any of those teams have the potential to be one of the very best in the league? Of course they do, but personally they’re not on my short list of teams I expect to challenge for this year’s President’s Trophy.
Let’s take a look at a couple of names who are mispriced on this list who could lead their team to the top of the standings.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (+2500)
You might be surprised to see this name as one of my value picks seeing how Vasilevskiy has yet to have a full season in the NHL as a starter, but there isn’t a goaltender in the league I’m higher on entering this season. The 23-year old Russian was handed the keys to the kingdom at the end of February when Tampa Bay traded Ben Bishop and thrust Vasilevskiy into the full-time role. After scuffling in a semi-platoon role before the promotion, he grabbed the spotlight and finished the season with a 12-4-2 record, a 2.27 goals against average and .930 save percentage – very Vezina-like numbers.
With the return of Steven Stamkos and a healthy squad in front of him, the Lightning are projected to sit atop the Atlantic division and challenge for the President’s Trophy and I expect them to be right there. Vasilevskiy might not be a household name right now but by the time this season is over, look for him to be in the conversation for the league’s top goaltender. Andrei Vasilevskiy at +2500 to win the Vezina Trophy is our top value pick of the year.
John Gibson (+1800)
The 24-year old Anaheim Ducks starter has only been in the league for 3+ seasons and has only been a full-time start in the last two but has quickly asserted himself as one of the premier goalkeepers in the NHL. In his first full season as a starter in 2015-16, Gibson finished seventh in Vezina voting with a .920 save percentage. Last year he increased that number to .924 but surprisingly didn’t receive a single top five vote.
Gibson is also tied with Holtby and Bobrovsky for the third best mark in the NHL among starters over the past two seasons with a .923 save percentage, trailing only Price and Murray (both at .925).
If you’ve read my season previews you’ll know I’m a big proponent of Goals-Saved-Above-Average for goaltenders. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s an advanced stat found over on hockey-reference.com that does a fair job of equalizing goaltenders across the league. Goaltenders can be fairly tough to predict but GSAA has been a pretty steady indicator over the years and a better measurement than the traditional stats like GAA and Sv%. Gibson’s GSAA last year was 15.36 which was the sixth best mark in the NHL (Bobrovsky, the Vezina winner, was miles ahead of everyone else at 33.45).
Gibson is still considered to be getting better and with the mentorship of veteran Ryan Miller now (a former Vezina winner) could reach new heights this season. If he can get enough starts to win 35-40 games with stats similar to his career numbers, it’s going to be hard for voters to overlook him. John Gibson at +1800 to win the Vezina Trophy this year is a strong value pick.
Honorable Mention: Devan Dubnyk (+800)