The Vezina Trophy has been announced and the 2019-20 winner is the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck. Presented to the best goaltender each season, the award is voted on by the NHL’s general managers. Hellebuyck was selected as the recipient over the Boston Bruins’ Tuukka Rask and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.
While quality is often a stronger argument than quantity when it comes to goaltending performance, Hellebuyck’s impressive campaign was an exception. While Rask led all starters in both save percentage and goals against average by a wide margin this season, he did so in just 41 games. Hellebuyck meanwhile played in 58 games, more than 80% of the Jets’ games. He led the league in total shots against and saves, as well as shutouts, and finished second in wins and total time on ice. Yet most impressively given his heavy workload, Hellebuyck finished second to Rask in save percentage among starters and sixth among starters in goals against average. Of the 31 NHL GM’s, 19 cast a first-place vote for Hellebuyck versus ten for Rask, allowing the Jets keeper to edge out the victory.
Hellebuyck, a former college standout at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, has had an up-and-down NHL career, but finally put everything together this year. While he has previously led the league before in wins and saves, he has also had seasons where he has struggled immensely. Winnipeg can likely put those worries to rest after the 27-year-old established himself as one of the best in the game with an outstanding 2019-20 season.