Goaltenders are the backbone of any NHL team, and this league is filled with elite players between the pipes who are competing for the Vezina Trophy honouring the best at the position.
In this article, we will be looking at some of the top Vezina Trophy candidates halfway into the season.
Leading the way on this list is Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. This is a familiar name that is often in Vezina Trophy contention each year, and he has won the award in the 2019-20 season. He is looking for his second honor and is making a great case so far.
Hellebuyck currently leads the NHL in save percentage (.925) and goals against average (2.17), and is third in wins (23) and shutouts (2). These are phenomenal numbers.
Hellebuyck has been a key contributor to the Winnipeg Jets’ success, who have been near or at the top of the NHL this season for a long period of time. If he can continue this play, not only should he win the Vezina, but we may see a Stanley Cup coming his way.
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is next on the list. Demko is one of the best young goaltenders in the league, and he is improving each year. This year even more so, as he has been elite.
Demko has been a workhorse for Vancouver. Compared to goalies with similar appearance totals, Demko is currently second in the league in wins (25), fourth in save percentage (.922), and fourth in goals against average (2.40). He has also only suffered 9 total losses in 34 starts, showing strong efficiency.
Demko is also the NHL leader in shutouts with 5. These are without a doubt Vezina-calibre numbers.
Similar to Winnipeg, the Vancouver Canucks are having a season to remember as one of the best NHL teams, and Demko has been a major factor. As a Canadian team trying to reach the goal of a Stanley Cup, Demko’s play could help get them there.
Third on the list is Jeremy Swayman. The Boston Bruins have built easily the best goaltending tandem in Swayman and Linus Ullmark, and while Ullmark led the show last year, it is “backup” goaltender Swayman’s show this season.
Swayman has played in 27 games so far this season, winning 16 of them, while losing just 3 in regulation. He has a goals against average of 2.30, and save percentage .924, which is near the league lead.
The 1A 1B goaltender tandem continues to thrive in Boston, and while Swayman’s workload hasn’t been as high as some other candidates, he has without a doubt proven to be one of the most talented goaltenders in the entire NHL.
New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is yet again showing greatness after a slow start.
The Rangers have been great, and Shesterkin has been improving his play to help match them. He now stands top five in wins (19), and while his other stats haven’t been elite, he is getting back into his groove as of late.
If Shesterkin can continue the increase in performance at the rate he has, you can expect him to continue to climb the list of Vezina Trophy favorites. He has won this award once in the 2021-22 season, and is always a threat.
Florida Panthers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky rounds out the top five candidates for the Vezina Trophy thus far. Florida is having an incredible season, largely in part due to two-time Vezina Trophy winner Bobrovsky.
He has accumulated the fourth most wins (22), third most shutouts (2), as well as a decent goals against average of 2.53 and save percentage of .908.
This goaltender has even more to give, and with the help of the surging Florida Panthers, Bobrovsky could be in line for a deep playoff run and a Vezina Trophy.
Odds mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.