As the NHL season heats up, it’s time to take a closer look at the top contenders for the coveted Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s best goaltender. This year’s race features a talented crop of netminders, but who has the edge? Let’s break down the top goaltenders and their odds of winning the Vezina Trophy.
Linus Ullmark (-150)
If the NHL was going to hand out the Vezina right now, it would most likely go to Boston Bruins’ goaltender Linus Ullmark. Other goaltenders grade out better in some categories, but none can beat the 29-year-old’s 25-4-1 record or his .936 save percentage. There are still 30-plus games left to be played, and a lot can happen between now and then, but the Bruins would not be chasing history if not for Ullmark, who leads the league in traditional categories like wins, save percentage and goals against average. Hockey writers vote on the winners of six individual player awards, but NHL general managers vote on the Vezina Trophy winner, and it might not be at the top of their list of priorities. If a goaltender like Ullmark continues to lead the NHL in those three main categories, he’ll be the obvious choice for voters looking for an easy out.
Connor Hellebuyck (+400)
Hellebuyck has had a great season. He’s currently among the top-three goaltenders in wins and save percentage, but at this point, why would anyone bet him to win the Vezina Trophy at 400 when the Jets’ odds of winning the Central Division are sitting at 600? Hellebuyck has played more games than any other goaltender, and he’s saved approximately 24 goals above expected, but the former Vezina Trophy winner is going to need to lead Winnipeg to a Central Division title to win the award.
Jake Oettinger (+800)
If Hellebuyck is 400 to win the award, surely Jake Oettinger should have better odds than 800. Statistically, Oettinger and Hellebuyck have had almost identical seasons, and the Stars’ odds of winning the Central Division are currently -145. The 24-year-old ranks among the top-five goaltenders in goals saved above expected wins and save percentage.
Ilya Sorokin (+900)
Since the market opened, I’ve questioned why Ilya Sorokin’s was listed as a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy. Sure, he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league, and he’s proven that again this season, but this is a regular-season award, and the Islanders will be lucky to make the playoffs. Sorokin ranks first in goals saved above expected and second in save percentage, but New York will likely miss the playoffs. DraftKings Sportsbook currently lists the Islanders’ odds of missing the playoffs at -475.
Igor Shesterkin (+1200)
At a certain point last season, it became clear that nobody was going to beat out Igor Shesterkin for the Vezina Trophy. However, Shesterkin has not stood out from the crowd as much in 2022- 23, and it’s doubtful that he would receive anybody’s first-place vote for his play season-to-date. Of course, with more than a third of the season to go, Shesterkin has plenty of time to impress, but with a crowded field, we would likely need to see the competition collapse around him for him to chance a legitimate chance at repeating as the best goaltender in the NHL.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (+1500)
The Big Cat is always in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy. Vasilevskiy won the award in 2019 and is still widely considered to be the best goaltender in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning would not still be a Stanley Cup contender without him, but even though he has impressive statistics, he hasn’t done enough to separate himself from the other goaltenders in the discussion.