The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goalie in the NHL. With the regular season currently suspended and in danger of being canceled that leaves the yearly awards in question. Rask was already considered by many to be the favorite for the award, and if the regular season is not resumed he has a solid case to be its winner. We are going to look at all the favorites and see how Rask stacks up. The latest odds to win the Vezina have Rask at +175, followed by Connor Hellebuyck at +250, Jordan Binnington at +600, Ben Bishop +700, and finally Andrei Vasilevskiy +800.
So let’s start out with the worst stat for Rask, wins. Rask is seventh in the league with 26 wins for a record of 26-8-6. Ben Bishop has 21 wins and a record of 21-16-4. Binnington has 30 wins a record of 30-13-7. Hellebuyck has 31 wins good for a record of 31-25-5. Finally, Vasilevskiy leads everyone at 35 wins with a 35-14-3 record. Wins is probably the least valuable goalie stat. A goalie could have a great night allowing only one goal and still get a loss. Rask also has five fewer losses than the next closest goalie Binnington, who has 13. So while Rask has less wins he also has fewer losses.
Goals Against Average
Another stat to take a look at is GAA or goals-against average. This is the average number of goals a goalie gives up per game they play. Rask currently sits at first in the league at 2.12 goals against. Bishop sits at 2.50 Vasilevskiy and Binnington both are at 2.56 and Hellebuyck is at 2.57. While goals-against average shows some of the impact a goalie has on a team’s performance, it also doesn’t tell the whole story. Two goalies could both give up 2.50 goals a game, but one faced a much higher shot volume while the other did not.
The next stat in the Vezina equation is save percentage. Rask once again sits at first with a save percentage of .929. Hellebuyck comes in second at .922, followed by Bishop at .920, Vasilevskiy at .917, and Binnington at .912. With both goals-against average and save percentage we can begin to see a goalie’s impact on the success of their team or lack thereof. Rask being first in both of these key stats does a lot of work to offset his lower win total.
Goals Saved Above Average
The final and probably most important stat we will look at is GSAA or goals saved above average. What this stat does is calculate the amount of goals an average league goalie would give up in a set number of shots. The higher above zero a goalie is the better than average they performed, and if they are below zero they have performed below average. Rask once again sits in first with a 22.51, followed closely by Hellebuyck at 22.40. Bishop, Vasilevskiy, and Binnington are well off that pace at 13.29, 12.13, and 3.31 respectively. Again those numbers are on a scale with an average goalie performing at a 0. This stat goes a long way in separating Rask and Hellebuyck from the rest of the field, showing why they are the top two choices for the Vezina.
Taking all of these stats into account it is clear why Rask is the current favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as the leagues best goalie. While other candidates might have more wins, Rask has dominated the field in all other statistical categories and is the clear choice for the award. If the regular season is canceled at this point in favor of going right into the playoffs Rask will have another Vezina Trophy to his name once the NHL awards finally take place.
Featured image courtesy of Gary A Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.