After playing a huge role in helping the Jets to a 52-win season, Connor Hellebuyck has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Hellebuyck joins Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne as the three finalists for the league’s top goaltender.
And your Vezina Trophy finalists are…
— NHL (@NHL) April 17, 2018
This, of course, is Hellebuyck’s first nomination for the award as 2017-18 has been the 24-year-old’s breakout season in the NHL. Hellebuyck posted a .924 save percentage and won a league-high 44 games. While we all know wins aren’t a very good way of measuring a goalie’s skill, voters are going to be into that sort of thing.
Rinne posted a .927 save percentage, tops of any full-time goalie (50+ games) in the league, but played eight fewer games than Hellebuyck. Vasilevskiy put up a .920 save percentage and tied Hellebuyck with 44 wins.
The decision really is completely up in the air as any of these three goalies, who unsurprisingly happen to be on the league’s top three teams, could easily be given the award. Regardless, it’s a great and well-deserved honour for Hellebuyck to earn the nomination. Hopefully it’s the first of many Vezina nominations for Winnipeg’s franchise goalie.