The NHL’s 31 GMs have sorted out the Vezina Trophy finalists.
Ben Bishop, Robin Lehner and Andrei Vasilevskiy were announced as the nominees for the award, which will be handed out to the NHL’s top goaltender from the 2018-19 season.
If there’s a common theme (beyond that Bishop has been teammates with both Lehner and Vasilevskiy), it’s that not one of them was terribly overworked this season. All three fell short of the typical 60-start standard for most Vezina Trophy winners, with Vasilevskiy leading the trio with 53 appearances this season.
You’ll have to go back 30 years to find a Vezina winner with a workload similar to either Bishop, Lehner or Vasilevskiy. Patrick Roy took top goaltending honours with a 48-game body of work in the 1988-89 season.
Vasilevskiy’s season was abbreviated by a month-long absence in the first half to nurse a broken foot, while Bishop and Lehner were the preferred choices out of a platoon with the Dallas Stars and New York Islanders, respectively.
Bishop has the best raw statistics, sporting a .934 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average in 46 games, while Lehner, in as many appearances, was the driving force behind the Islanders’ defensive turnaround. After finishing last in goals conceded one year ago, the Isles flipped the stats table by allowing the fewest goals and finishing with the league’s best total save percentage.
Vasilevskiy finished a few points below both Bishop and Lehner in terms of overall save rate, but won 39 times in his 53 outings. His incredible winning season helped the Tampa Bay Lightning achieve one of the greatest regular seasons in NHL history.
The Vezina will be awarded in Vegas on June 19.
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