With a flip of the calendar over to 2017, the NHL is getting close to the halfway point of the season.
That means award projections kick into high gear.
Today we’ll have a quick look at the leaders in the Vezina race and give you a vote at the bottom of this page. Tune in to Tuesday’s pre-game show prior to the Montreal-Nashville matchup and find out the results.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
When Price went down to serious injury last season, we saw the Montreal Canadiens completely collapse without him. So, naturally, you could make the case that Price is the most valuable goalie to his team in the NHL. That argument certainly holds water in the Hart Trophy discussion, but the Vezina is given to the goalie who is “adjudged to be the best at this position.” There’s no doubting Price is one of the best at his position in the world right now, but by the numbers, it should be a close race for this trophy in 2016-17. The last time Price was healthy for a whole season, he won the award.
(Tables show each goalie’s numbers and their league-wide ranking in brackets)
|18 (T-5th)||2.07 (7th)||.930 (4th)||2 (T-9th)|
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets are cruising right along and surprising everybody with a 15-game winning streak, which now has them on top of the Eastern Conference. Yes, the team is converting on a high percentage of its shots and, yes, their goalie has a very high save percentage, both of which should come back down some and put the team on a more sustainable path. But Bobrovsky’s performance may actually be somewhat sustainable, considering he’s done this before. In 2012-13, Bobrovsky posted a .932 save percentage in 38 games and won his first Vezina. In 2013-14 he posted a .923 save percentage in 58 games.
|24 (1st)||1.95 (3rd)||.934 (T-2nd)||3 (T-4th)|
Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
If you had made this list in 2013-14, you’d probably have to mention every goalie in the NHL until you got to the current Minnesota goalie at the very bottom. That year was a disaster for Dubnyk, who looked to be on the way out of the NHL. After struggling with an .894 save percentage in Edmonton, Dubnyk was even worse in two games with Nashville. The following season he posted an OK .916 save percentage in 19 games with Arizona, but found his comfort zone with the Wild and it’s been smooth sailing since. Currently top four in every major category, Dubnyk could end up as one of the most surprising Vezina winners of all-time.
|19 (T-2)||1.75 (1st)||.941 (1st)||5 (1st)|
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
The Vezina winner of 2013-14, Rask had a bit of a down year last season (which was still pretty good by the way), but has bounced back into prime form for a Bruins team that’s been just a little unlucky this season. Throughout his career, Rask has always posted Vezina-caliber numbers, but lost time to Tim Thomas at the start of his career. He’s not a surprising candidate here at all.
|19 (T-2)||1.93 (2nd)||.928 (6th)||4 (T-2nd)|