Top-5 Vezina Trophy Candidates for 2022-23 Season

The 2022-23 NHL season is around the corner and we're here to spotlight players to watch for end of the year awards. This segment we focus on the five best pre-season candidates for the Vezina trophy, handed out to the best goaltender in the league. 

Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers

2021-22 Vezina trophy winner Igor Shesterkin is the favorite heading into this season. The New York Rangers will once again be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and a big reason for that is the play of Shesterkin. The team moved out backup Alexandar Georgiev and made it clear as day who the goalie of the future is. Shesterkin only appeared in 53 games last season, this season expect more like 60. The 26-year-old went 36-13-4 with a 2.07 GAA and a .935 Sv.%. The Champ is the heavy favorite for the 2022-23 Vezina.

Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators

With the Pekka Rinne era over in Nashville, Juuse Saros showed everyone last season he's ready for prime time. Saros went 38-25-3 with a 2.64 GAA and a .918 Sv.% as the Predators weren't afraid to play their netminder too much. 
© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
With an improved defense in front of him, Saros should be a top-3 Vezina candidate once again in 2022-23. It's worth noting - Shesterkin was a fourth-round pick in 2014, Saros went in the fourth round a year earlier. 

Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames

What an offseason in Calgary, as the Flames re-tooled on the fly and head into next season with high expectations. While I feel like Saros will leap-frog Jacob Markstrom in 2022-23, look for the Flames starter to once again have a massive season. 
 Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The addition of MacKenzie Weegar will help an already strong Flames defense and their system makes it a little bit easier on their netminder. Nonetheless, Markstrom was solid in his own right last season, posting a 37-15-9 record with a 2.22 GAA and a .922 Sv.%. Look for much of the same this season.

Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes

If Freddie Andersen can stay healthy for an entire 82-game season, he's capable of taking home top prize. The Hurricanes netminder was stellar in his first season in Carolina and posted some ridiculous numbers - 35-14-3, 2.17 GAA, .922 Sv.%. 
 James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The Hurricanes play a beneficial system for their netminder and with some new faces in town, Carolina is once again expected to be a powerhouse. Look for Andersen to have another strong season in 2022-23, and I'd expect to see him top-3 in votes at the end of the year.

Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars

Take about a coming-out party, Jake Oettinger stole the show for the Dallas Stars in their first-round exit last season. 
 Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
While his regular season numbers were strong in their own right at 30-15-1, 2.53 GAA, and a .914 Sv.%, during the Stanley Cup Playoffs 'Otter' was almost unbeatable, posting a 1.81 GAA and an amazing .954 Sv.%. He received praise from all over the league and put the NHL on notice. Look for continued strong play in 2022-23 from the Stars starter, and he'll very likely be in the top-5 and even the top-3 in Vezina votes this season.

Photo credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports