Over the next week, the NHL will release the finalists for all of the major regular-season awards. First up is the Vezina Trophy, which is given to the best goaltender in the NHL and voted on by the league’s general managers.
Fleury, 36, has been written off several times in his long career but seems to just get better with age. He posted the best regular season of his career in 2020-21, recording a .928 save percentage while splitting the net with Robin Lehner. The tandem already won the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league, and Fleury personally ranked among the top of almost every category. Despite winning nearly 500 games in the NHL, Fleury has never been a Vezina finalist before.
Grubauer, 29, is also a finalist for the first time. The Avalanche netminder posted a .922 save percentage in 40 appearances, leading the league in shutouts with seven. His record was impeccable, losing only nine games in regulation all season. Though Grubauer has put up numbers like this before, he has never carried a heavier workload. His career to this point may be easy to overlook, but among goaltenders with at least 200 starts, Grubauer’s .920 save percentage would put him fifth all time.
The two new finalists will have to slay a giant if they want the award though, as Vasilevskiy is back again. The Lightning goaltender has been a Vezina finalist for four consecutive seasons, winning the award in 2019. For the fourth year in a row, he had led the NHL in wins, this time taking home 31 of his 42 appearances. His .925 save percentage matched his career-high (the number that won him the Vezina), and his goals-against average dropped even further. Even though he’s only 26, it seems clear that Vasilevskiy is destined to go down as one of the best goaltenders the NHL has ever seen.