Pro Hockey News

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Bobrovsky, Demko and Hellebuyck Voted Vezina Trophy Finalists

 NEW YORK – Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers, Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks and Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets are the three finalists for the 2023-24 Vezina Trophy, awarded “to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position,” the National Hockey League announced today.

NHL general managers submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers

Bobrovsky (36-17-4, 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage, six shutouts in 58 GP) backstopped the Panthers to a second Atlantic Division title in three seasons and the second-highest standings points total (110) in franchise history. His 36 wins rank second in Panthers history for a single-season, topped only by the club-record 39 he won in 2021-22. He co-led the League in shutouts, tied for third in wins, ranked third in GAA and posted a .900-or-better save percentage in 37 starts, second in the NHL to fellow Vezina finalist Connor Hellebuyck (39). His 14-1-1 stretch from Dec. 23 to Feb. 20 (2.22 GAA, .922 save %) lifted the Panthers from third place to first in the Atlantic en route to the club's division title. Bobrovsky is the first Vezina finalist from the Panthers in 20 years (Roberto Luongo: 3rd in 2003-04) in a bid to become the franchise's first winner. He captured Vezina honors in 2012-13 and 2016-17, both as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks

Demko (35-14-2, 2.45 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, five shutouts) set career bests in wins, GAA, save pct. and shutouts, all coming in just 51 starts, as the Canucks won their first division title since 2012-13 and posted the third-highest standings points total (109) in their 53 NHL seasons. His 35 wins tied for the fifth-most in franchise history, surpassed only by Roberto Luongo (3X: 47, 40, 38) and Kirk McLean (38). He was nearly unbeatable in midseason, posting an 18-2-1 record over a 21-game span from Dec. 8 - Feb. 15. His final win of that streak was his 30th of the season (30-9-1 in 40 GP) becoming the fifth active goaltender to reach the 30-win mark in 40 games or fewer. Demko placed among the elite in NHL Edge tracking data, posting the second-best save percentage for high-danger shots (.845). The League average was .788. He is a first-time Vezina Trophy finalist and is vying to become to the first Canucks goaltender to capture the honor.

Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg Jets

Hellebuyck (37-19-4, 2.39 goals-against average, .921 save percentage, five shutouts) won the Jennings Trophy as the goaltender (min. 25 GP) on the team allowing the fewest regular-season goals, helping the Jets earn a Stanley Cup Playoffs berth for the sixth time in the past seven years. Hellebuyck yielded three or fewer goals in 50 of his 60 total appearances, including a pair of 10-game streaks with two or fewer goals against (Nov. 17 – Dec. 16 and Dec. 22 – Jan. 20). He became the third goaltender in NHL's modern era (since 1943-44) to post multiple such stretches in a single season. He was second in the NHL in wins and save %, fourth in GAA and ranked above the 95th percentile for both high-danger shots against (96th) and saves (97th), according to NHL Edge tracking data. Hellebuyck is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall. He became the franchise’s first-ever Vezina recipient in 2019-20, finished second in voting in 2017-18 and third in 2022-23.

Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the NHL in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, the outstanding Canadiens goaltender who collapsed during an NHL game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later. Before the 1981-82 season, the goaltender(s) of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season was awarded the Vezina Trophy.