We’ve now reached the halfway point for all teams in the National Hockey League. There has been exciting storylines and great individual performances during the season. Through these contenders for awards have started to emerge. Last Word on Hockey has made their picks for each, and here are the Vezina Trophy choices.
Last Word on Hockey’s Mid-Season Awards: Vezina Trophy
Just slightly edging out Devan Dubnyk, LWOH’s staff chose the Columbus Blue Jackets netminder for the Vezina Trophy at the halfway point. Bobrovsky has been nothing short of stellar this season for the Jackets. It seems that the change in his off-season training, and World Cup of Hockey run with Russia has done his confidence, and his ailing groin injury, some miracles.
Bobrovsky currently sits atop the NHL in wins this season with 26, is fifth in the league with a 2.00 GAA (goalies with 15+ games played), and fourth in the league with a very solid .931 save percentage. All these numbers have been good enough to see him as the main choice goalie for the Metropolitan Division at the upcoming All-Star Game.
Along with the stellar stats mentioned above, Bobrovsky has posted three shutouts on the season. He has been a crucial piece to the fantastic season the Blue Jackets are currently having, and deserves a fair share of the credit. His 26-6-2 record proves that both him and the Blue Jackets should find themselves comfortably in a playoff spot come the end of the season.
Much like the story of Columbus this season, the Minnesota Wild have found new life under Bruce Boudreau. One of the players who has reaped the benefits of a new coaching staff is none other than Dubnyk. Despite Dubnyk getting multiple first place votes from the LWOH staff, he was edged out by the most narrow of margins by the aforementioned Bobrovsky.
Much like Bobrovsky, Dubnyk currently sits top five in wins, goals against average, save percentage, and shutouts. He makes a very strong case for the Vezina Trophy with his 22-7-3 record, 1.77 GAA, .940 SV%, and his five shutouts. He sits second in wins, first in goals against average, and first in save percentage on the season.
There’s no doubt that if Dubnyk continues this type of play in between the pipes that he will be a serious contender for the Vezina Trophy come the end of the season. The only thing standing in his way is the man above him in this list and the next one.
Sometimes it seems that Carey Price is a given for the Vezina Trophy shortlist, and there’s an obvious reason for that. It’s because he’s a fantastic goalie, and when healthy is one of the best in the world.
Price currently sits top ten in all the measurable statistics for goalies, which merits inclusion in the top three of this list. If not for the seasons that Bobrovsky or Dubnyk are currently enjoying he might even be higher up. His 20-7-4 record, 2.28 GAA, .922 SV%, and two shutouts on the season show on paper just how good he can be.
Much like the former two goalies, Price has played a large role in the success that Montreal is having this season, especially when you see the scores their backup goalies have been a part of (10-0 against Columbus). If not for the 7-1 whacking at the hands of the Wild the other night, Price’s numbers would be even slightly better than what they currently are, which is hard to imagine.
If Price stays healthy throughout the remainder of the season, expect to see his name in the top three of the final Vezina Trophy voting for the 2016-17 season. Depending on the former two goalies, he might just snag his second Vezina Trophy of his career, and two in the last three years.
Rask is another name that seems to consistently be on the Vezina Trophy shortlist. Despite having a 21-9-3 record, 1.95 GAA, a .926 SV%, and five shutouts on the season, it wasn’t enough to see him garner enough votes from the LWOH staff to break the top three. Needless to say, Rask is having a fantastic season and is a no-brainer for the mid-season shortlist.
Coming off the back of a Vezina Trophy season in 2015-16, Holtby once again finds himself in the names being mentioned for the prestigious award. In comparison to last year Holtby is having only a good season, but when you look at his numbers from last year (48-9-7, 2.20 GAA, .922 SV%) it starts to make sense. Holtby isn’t quite on pace to match his win total from last year, but his 20-8-4 record, 1.90 GAA, and his .932 save percentage make him well worth being on this list.
If not for the slew of goalies currently having phenomenal seasons, Jones might get more consideration than this. But being the only goalie with double-digit losses on the season (13), and the worst of the six in save percentage (.916 SV%) he isn’t doing himself any favors. He’s had a great season and deserves to be on the list, but there’s almost no chance he would come away with the Vezina Trophy at this point.