Top 3 Vezina Trophy Candidates As Season Wraps Up

As the regular season comes to its conclusion this week, we enter not only into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but also Awards Season. Voters will be casting their ballots over the next few days on the various awards to be handed out this June, and we've been handicapping the favorites. 

We started on D with the top Norris Trophy candidates, then moved on to the fabulous freshman, with a look at the top 3 Calder Trophy contenders, and now we'll move between the pipes. 

Linus Ullmark

It's been a historic season for the Boston Bruins, and goaltender Linus Ullmark has certainly been a major factor in that. He leads the NHL in practically every statistic that's ever been invented to measure a netminder's performance. To wit:

  • 40 Wins  —  1st   (40-6-1 record)
  • 1.89 GAA  — 1st  (goals against average)
  • .938 SV%  — 1st  (save percentage)
  • 48.3 GSAA — 1st (goals saved above average)
  • 65 GA %     — 1st (goals against percentage; he's 35% better than average)

Ilya Sorokin

Shutouts. Now there's a category that Ullmark actually doesn't lead the world in. That's where the New York Islanders' Ilya Sorokin stands above the rest, with a league-leading six shutouts this season. His other numbers are impressive enough — 31 wins, 2.34 GAA and .924 SV%. And then you look at what he's done down the stretch:

Over his final eight games, Sorokin has a 1.86 GAA, a .934 SV% and a shutout. Write him in as one of the finalists for the Vezina.  

Connor Hellebuyck

Where would the Winnipeg Jets be this season without the eight-year veteran between the pipes? Almost certainly, out of the playoffs. But Hellebuyck has come up with another masterful performance in Winterpeg this season, and with 37 wins, a 2.49 GAA and a .920 SV%, he at least has to be given some consideration as having an outside shot at earning his second Vezina Trophy. 

Photo: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports