As the start of the regular season edges ever closer; it’s time to make some super-early trophy predictions and today I’ll be looking at the Vezina Trophy. The award, named after former Montreal Canadiens goalie Georges Vezina, is awarded to the best goaltender each season. The winner of the Vezina is decided by all 30 NHL General Managers.
Last season LA’s Jonathan Quick, Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop and Washington’s Braden Holtby were all finalists for the Vezina. But with a career high 48 wins in 66 games, tying Martin Brodeur for most regular season wins, Holtby took the honours.
Braden Holtby – not because Carl would kill me for omitting Holtby, but because he has a genuine chance at doing the double. It’s a slim chance because although he’s still in his prime and is one of the best goaltenders in the league today; Holtby won’t be able to repeat his 2015-16 feats. His chances could be futher hindered as he’s sat behind one of the strongest defenses in the NHL and that might go against him come voting time.
Carey Price – the Montreal Canadiens might not be winning much, but their superstar goalie is. In 2014-15 Price won the Vezina, and last season looked like an early favourite before being sidelined by injury. When healthy, Price is an elite goaltender and will be one of the key factors that’ll decide the Habs’ success this coming season.
Brian Elliott – being traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Calgary Flames will give Elliott more ice time, but he’ll be sat behind a weaker defense. In 42 regular season games Elliott put up a .930 SV% and 2.07 GAA. Definitely respectable numbers and if Elliot can repeat those then he should consider himself a Vezina contender.
Matt Murray – Murray is capable of Vezina winning performances, his Stanley Cup win is testament to that. However his performance with Team North America in the World Cup of Hockey left a lot to be desired: 3.16 GAA? .886 SV%? Not a good start. But this is a short tournament, it’s not the league. The biggest hurdle Murray has to clear going forward will be Marc-André Fleury. Fleury is still the Penguins’ starting goaltender and commands serious ice time.