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Hellebuyck, Demko, Bobrovsky named Vezina finalists

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks, and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers are this season's Vezina Trophy finalists, the NHL announced Monday.

The Vezina Trophy is voted on by the general managers of all 32 NHL teams at the conclusion of the regular season. The honor is awarded annually "to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position."

Hellebuyck is widely considered the front-runner for the hardware. He topped all netminders in goals saved above average (29.35), goals saved above expected (39.35), wins above replacement (6.8), and goals above replacement (41.5) by a wide margin.

The 30-year-old was once again the Jets' backbone and the driving force behind the second 100-point campaign in the franchise's history. Hellebuyck racked up a 37-19-4 record and trailed only Colorado Avalanche workhorse Alexandar Georgiev for the most victories in the NHL. His .921 save percentage was the highest of all netminders to make at least 25 starts this campaign.

Hellebuyck was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last season, and he won the award in 2020.

Demko's case to win the honor was weakened after he missed 14 games late in the regular season with a knee injury, though his body of work was strong enough to make him a first-time finalist.

The 28-year-old was a force for the Canucks this campaign, posting a career-best .918 save percentage, 2.45 goals-against average, and five shutouts. Despite the missed time, he still ranked second in GSAA (18.51), fourth in GSAx (25.83), and fifth in both WAR (4.3) and GAR (26.4).

Demko went 35-14-2 on the season and tied for the sixth-most wins in the NHL, though he played in nine fewer games than Hellebuyck and 12 fewer than Georgiev. The California native finished seventh on the Vezina ballot in 2022.

Bobrovsky's fantastic play during the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs carried over into the regular season. He posted a sterling .915 save percentage and 2.37 goals-against average to go along with a 36-17-4 record, while his six shutouts were tied for the most in the league.

The 35-year-old placed fifth among all goalies in GSAA (15.4), 17th in GSAx (15.76), and fourth in both WAR (4.3) and GAR (26.5).

Bobrovsky won the Vezina in 2013 and 2017 as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and is the only active player to be awarded the trophy twice.

Boston Bruins stud Linus Ullmark took home the honor last season.

Details surrounding the 2024 NHL Awards have yet to be finalized, but reports indicate it will be held June 27 in Las Vegas.

(Analytics source: Evolving-Hockey)

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