The NHL has announced the 2023 Vezina Trophy nominees. The award is given “to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position” and is voted on by the NHL general managers. Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers won the award last year becoming the ninth different winner in the past ten seasons.
This year the finalists for the award are Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark.
Hellebuyck is looking to become just the second goalie in the last ten years to win two Vezina Trophies as the Jets netminder also picked up the award in 2020. Hellebuyck could have an interesting 12 months if he is able to grab another award for best netminder, the 29-year-old is entering the final year of his contract with the Jets and can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Hellebuyck posted elite numbers this past season in what was a bounce back season for the Michigan native after struggling in 2021-22. He posted a 37-25-2 record with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
Speaking of unrestricted free agency, Ilya Sorokin can also become a free agent in a year’s time as he is entering the final year of his three-year deal with the Islanders. Sorokin would no doubt love to pad his resume with a Vezina Trophy as he has been playing on a below market contract for the past two seasons. Sorokin posted terrific numbers this season with a sparkling .924 save percentage to go along with six shutouts and a 31-22-7 record.
Finally, the front runner must be Linus Ullmark. The Swedish netminder posted wild numbers this season as he backstopped the Boston Bruins to a historical regular season. Ullmark had a 40-6-1 record with a .938 save percentage and a 1.89 goals-against average. He also led the league in goals by a goaltender having potted a tally into an empty net in a game against the Vancouver Canucks. Ullmark became just the 13th goalie in NHL history to accomplish the feat.
The Vezina Trophy will be awarded in June at the NHL Awards ceremony in Nashville.