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Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck named a Vezina trophy finalist

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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Award season has arrived in the NHL, beginning with the nominations. Today, the NHL announced the finalists for the Vezina trophy, awarded to the league’s best goalie for the regular season. Florida Panthers Sergei Bobrovsky, Vancouver Canucks Thatcher Demko and Winnipeg Jets Connor Hellebuyck have been named the 3 finalists for the 2023-24 season.
It’s great news for Jets fans, and serves as a nice little distraction from the fact that the Jets are now down 3-1 in the 1st round series against the Colorado Avalanche. Before I get to the details around Hellebuyck’s history with this award, I’ll let you briefly know about the other 2 finalists. This will allow you to put Hellebuyck’s achievements and numbers from this season into perspective.
Sergei Bobrovsky had a record of 36-17-4 for the the Florida Panthers and posted a 2.37 goals-against average and a .915% save percentage. Bobrovsky was also tied for the league lead in shutouts with 6 in 58 games. The Bobrovsky-led Panthers won the Atlantic division with 52 wins this season, and as a team they allowed 200 goals, only 1 more than the league best Winnipeg Jets who allowed 199. Bobrovsky is now a 3 time finalist, winning twice with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012-13 and 2016-17.
Thatcher Demko finished with a 35-14-2 record for the Vancouver Canucks, to go along with a 2.45 goals-against average a .918% save percentage. Demko collected 5 shutouts in 51 games and was leading the league in wins before suffering a knee injury in early March that made him miss 14 games. Demko led the Canucks to a 50-23-9 record, good enough to win the Pacific division. Demko is a 1st time finalist.
Over to Connor Hellebuyck, who may just be the favourite to take home the Vezina trophy this season. Hellebuyck finished the season with a 37-19-4 record, a 2.39 goals-against average a .921% save percentage. Hellebuyck finished near the top of the league with 5 shutouts in 60 games, and made the 2nd most total saves in the league with 1656.
Hellebuyck also won the William M. Jennings trophy for being on the team that allowed the fewest goals in the regular season. The Jets goalie duo of Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit allowed a league-low 199 goals. Unfortunately, only Hellebuyck’s name will be on the Jennings trophy since Brossoit only played 23 games, and the minimum required for this trophy is 25 games.
It’s safe to say that it was another successful season for the star 30-year old Jets starter. It’s the 2nd straight season and 4th time overall that Hellebuyck has been named a finalist for the Vezina trophy. Hellebuyck was previously the Vezina trophy winner in 2020, and was a finalist in both 2018 and 2023.
Jets coach Rick Bowness spoke to the media this morning regarding the announcement and said that Hellebuyck is
“Number 1 for me. It’s very well deserved. He is the backbone. Every great team has a great goaltender and this guy is a great goaltender.”
It’s a nomination that is much deserved for Hellebuyck. It’s been a rough 4 games in the playoffs so far for Hellebuyck, who has allowed 19 goals. The Jets are down 3-1 in their series with the Colorado Avalanche, but it’s never too late for Hellebuyck to find his form and help his team stay alive in the playoffs. Coach Bowness also told the media today that Hellebuyck is excited about the nomination, but for right now all of his focus is on game 5 coming up on Tuesday night.
Hellebuyck has faced the most shots so far in the playoffs with 147 and he’s made the most saves (128) out of any goalie in the playoffs so far. Congrats to the 3 finalists for the Vezina trophy, and let’s see if Hellebuyck can help the Jets stay alive in the playoffs in game 5 on Tuesday.

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