SAN JOSE, California - The National Hockey League announced today that Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, an annual award given "to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position" as voted by the general managers of all 30 NHL clubs.
The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. More details on format will be released at a later date.
The 29 year old Niemi is in his fifth NHL season and third season with San Jose. Amongst all NHL goaltenders, Niemi finished the regular season T-1st in games started (43), T-1st in wins (24), T-7th in overall save percentage (.924), T-6th in shutouts (4), 11th in goals against average (2.16) and led all NHL players in total ice time (2,580:46). Niemi's .924 SV% and 2.16 GAA were both career-highs and rank 2nd and 3rd in all-time Sharks franchise history respectively.
Along with posting top numbers in a variety of statistical categories, Niemi accumulated various team and league honors throughout the season. He was named the Brocade "Sharks Player of the Year" for 2012-13 after a vote conducted by the Bay Area media, earned the Playstation "Three Stars of the Game" Award, picked up Brocade "Sharks Player of the Month" honors for Jan./Feb. 2013 by allowing two or less goals in 12 of his 17 games, and was the NHL's Second Star of the Week from March 25-31 when he registered a 4-0-0 record with two shutouts, 1.22 GAA, and a .952 SV%.
Niemi became the first goaltender in Sharks history to have back-to-back shutouts on consecutive nights, making 49 saves in two shutout wins against Detroit and Anaheim on March 27 and 28. Niemi also started 24 consecutive games from March 9 through Apr. 23, tying Chris Terreri for the third-most consecutive games started in goal in Sharks franchise history.
Niemi is the second Sharks goaltender to be named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Former Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was a finalist in 2008 and finished in fourth-place in 2002.
Niemi, a native of Vantaa, Finland, was originally signed by San Jose as a free agent on Sept. 2, 2010.