Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie at the 2022 NHL Awards on Tuesday.
Shesterkin was 36-13-4 in 53 games (52 starts) this season, leading the NHL in GAA (2.07) and save percentage (.935; minimum 20 games). He was third in shutouts (six), sixth in wins, and had a save percentage of at least .940 in 26 starts.
"It means a lot to me," Shesterkin said. "I didn't think about it when I came to the NHL, but sometimes you think 'Maybe I have a chance.' The first preseason (game) against the Islanders, I didn't play. One guy, one small child in the middle, showed me a picture of myself and (it said) 'For Future Vezina Trophy Winner.'… I think, 'Why not? We have a good team for that'. Everybody helped me so much with that. [It's a] team win."
Shesterkin's .935 save percentage was third all-time in a single season among goalies to play at least 50 games (Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins, .938 in 2010-11; Dominik Hasek, Buffalo Sabres, .937 in 1998-99). His .929 save percentage against opposing power plays was second in the NHL, a big reason New York ranked second in goals against per game (2.49) and seventh on the penalty kill (82.3 percent).
"We've seen it all year, we've talked about it all year," Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said after Shesterkin was named a finalist. "He's kept us in games early in the year we weren't supposed to win. You have a lot more confidence when he's in the net that if a mistake happens, he'll have your back."
Jacob Markstrom of the Calgary Flames was second and Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators was third, as the other finalists for the award, which was voted on by NHL general managers before the Stanley Cup Playoffs began.
"It's very well deserved," Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba said of the nomination. "If you ask anyone in our room, he's been our backbone all year. Special season, and he deserves all the accolades that are coming his way."
Shesterkin, who helped New York (52-24-6) finish as the No. 2 seed from the Metropolitan Division, is the third Rangers goalie to win the award since GMs began voting on it in 1981-82, along with John Vanbiesbrouck (1985-86) and Henrik Lundqvist (2011-12). Prior to 1981, the Vezina was given to the goalie or goalies of the team that allowed the fewest goals.
"An underrated thing is how [Shesterkin] understands the game," New York center Ryan Strome said May 31, before the Rangers faced the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final. "His hockey IQ is, I would say, one of the highest on our team and I don't think I've ever said that about a goalie on my team before, with all due respect."
Shesterkin was also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews won that award) and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team.
"I mean, it's obviously very, very well deserved," Rangers forward Chris Kreider said after Shesterkin was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy. "He's been our best player all year. We're certainly not in the position that we're in now without him. I mean, he kept us in games, he single-handedly won games. He's got my vote if that counts for anything."
Shesterkin helped the Rangers advance to the Eastern Conference Final this season, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.
"Yes, [watching the Stanley Cup Final is] so difficult because we had a very good team and we deserved to play in the Final," he said. "… So I think it was a really good experience for us and so we will get stronger next season."
2022 Vezina Trophy voting
1. Igor Shesterkin, NYR 154 (29-3-0)
2. Jacob Markstrom, CGY 53 (0-14-11)
3. Juuse Saros, NSH 32 (0-9-5)
4. Frederik Andersen, CAR 21 (1-3-7)
5. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL 14 (1-2-3)
6. Ilya Sorokin, NYI 11 (1-1-3)
7. Thatcher Demko, VAN 1(0-0-1)
7. Ville Husso, STL 1 (0-0-1)
7. Tristan Jarry, PIT 1 (0-0-1)
Points allocation: 5-3-1 (1st-2nd-3rd)
NHL.com staff writer William Douglas contributed to this report