Sergei Bobrovsky has won the 2017 Vezina Trophy – the award handed out annually to the best goaltender in the NHL. In a season that saw the Columbus Blue Jackets netminder also earn a spot as a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy – awarded to the league’s Most Valuable Player, Bobrovsky was the clear favorite to win the Vezina. Leading the league with a 2.06 goals against average and a .921 save percentage while also winning 41 games – second to Cam Talbot and Braden Holtby, Bobrovsky simply played his best hockey throughout the entire 2016-17 season.
Vezina Trophy as top goalie in the NHL goes to CBJ's Sergei Bobrovsky. Voted on by NHL GMs.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 22, 2017
Taking a team that in 2015-16 won only 34 games and recorded 76 points to put them in 15h place in the Eastern Conference to a team that finished in third place in the Eastern Conference with 50 wins and 108 points was admirable in itself. The fact that he recorded such incredible point totals while also helping to backstop his team to the top of the standings made it clear that Bobrovsky’s season was not to go unnoticed.
Even fellow Vezina-Trophy finalist Holtby gave his symbolic vote to Bobrovsky.
“He definitely deserves it,” Holtby said. “That’s my expectations and I think that’s what it should be. It goes to show what kind of season he had.”
Looking at the Runner-Ups
The Vezina Trophy-winning goalie from 2016, Braden Holtby, just fell short of winning back-to-back best goaltender honors. While it seemed impossible for Holtby to somehow back up his 2015-16 campaign in which he recorded a 48-9-7 record with 42 wins, a 2.20 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, Holtby somehow looked just as good this past season. Compiling a record of 42-13-6 with an astounding 2.07 goals against average and a .925 save percentage with nine shutouts, Holtby proved that he is among the elite goalies in all of the NHL. Playing behind such a talented team in the Washington Capitals likely put a damper on what Holtby did relative to what Bobrovsky did, but Holtby’s season in itself was more than worthy enough of a Vezina Trophy. Holtby did win the William M. Jennings award, however.
Curious Case of Carey Price
The 2014-15 Vezina, Hart, Ted Lindsay and William M. Jennings Award winner Carey Price finished the 2016-17 season with a 37-20-5 record with a 2.23 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. The numbers were certainly respectable and Price is still securely cemented as one of the top goaltenders in the entire world. Still, his inclusion as a Vezina Trophy finalist was a curious one.
Price didn’t finish in the top-five among goaltenders in wins, goals-against average, or save percentage. Meanwhile, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson finished both fifth in save percentage and fifth in goals-against average. He may not have won as many games as Price, but he was still a big part of his team’s success. Another name that comes to mind is Cam Talbot. With a higher save percentage than Carey Price and a 2.39 goals against average compared to Price’s 2.23, Talbot won five more games than Price and recorded four more shutouts. Still, Price shouldn’t have a good season taken away from him. There’s no denying that Price is the best player on the entire Montreal Canadiens roster and without him, the team likely wouldn’t have finished anywhere near the top of the Atlantic Division. As such, Price can even garner Hart Trophy considerations every season.