Bob Demko Hellebuyck split for 62424 SYC Vezina

The Vezina Trophy is given annually to the NHL goaltender voted best at his position by the NHL’s 32 general managers.

This season, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers, Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks and Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets are the finalists.

The award will be given to one of these goalies during the NHL Awards at the Fontainebleau in Las Vegas on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN).

While we wait to find out the winner, staff writer Bill Douglas, columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika and senior director of editorial Shawn P. Roarke debate the merits of each finalist in this Awards edition of State Your Case.

Sergei Bobrovsky

The Florida Panthers goaltender’s numbers were right there with finalist Connor Hellebuyck’s. He went 36-17-4 with a 2.37 goals-against average and .915 save percentage, and he tied for the NHL lead with six shutouts. It’s remarkable that at age 35, Bobrovsky got back to doing what he did at 24 and 28, when he won the Vezina Trophy with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013 and 2017. After signing a seven-year contract with the Panthers on July 1, 2019, Bobrovsky had four pedestrian seasons in Florida. But he found his game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, when the Panthers made a run to the Stanley Cup Final, and he carried that into this season. – Nicholas J. Cotsonika, columnist

Breaking down the finalists for the Vezina Trophy

Thatcher Demko

The Vancouver Canucks had a turn-around season and it was because of their goalie. Demko missed a large portion of the 2022-23 season, playing in 32 games, and Vancouver went 38-37-7 and missed the playoffs by 12 points. This season, Demko was healthy, for the most part, and brilliant, playing in 51 games. He went 35-14-2 with a .918 save percentage, 2.45 GAA and five shutouts. He finished sixth in wins but played at least four fewer games than any of the five goalies ahead of him. Among goalies with at least 50 appearances, nobody lost fewer games than Demko. So, the Canucks went 50-23-9 this season, winning the Pacific Division. They did so because Demko gave them a chance and gave them confidence each time he started. – Shawn P. Roarke, senior director of editorial

Connor Hellebuyck

For my money, the Winnipeg Jets goalie was the best and most consistent goalie during the regular season and is worthy of winning the Vezina Trophy for the second time (2019-20) in his NHL career. Hellebuyck went 37-19-4 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 60 games for Winnipeg. He was second in the NHL in wins, second in save percentage and fourth in goals-against average. He also made the second-most saves (1,656) this season behind Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros (1,672). The 31-year-old from Commerce, Michigan won the William M. Jennings Trophy, presented annually to the goalies who play a minimum of 25 games for the team that allows the fewest goals during the regular season. The Jets allowed an NHL-low 199 goals and finished second in the Central Division (54-24-6). – William Douglas, staff writer

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