In what can only be described as the ultimate comeback story, 36-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights has been named the Vezina Trophy winner as the best goalie in the NHL. Fleury is just one year removed from a below-average season in which he was the backup in Vegas, but stormed back this year with stellar numbers to win the starting job and lead the team to the playoffs. Fleury adds the Vezina to his Jennings Trophy that he shared with Robin Lehner this season as the tandem with the fewest goals against in the league.
It is hard to believe Fleury’s Vezina win on multiple levels. First, that one of the best goalies of his generation did not win his first Vezina until his 17th season in the league. Fleury has received Vezina votes three other times, but never even enough to make him a finalist. Second, that the win came after one of his worst NHL season, after which some felt his career could be over and even his own Golden Knights team entertained trade offers. Yet, Fleury stayed put and stayed healthy, winning the starting job in Vegas this season and recording a 26-10-0 record with a stunning .928 save percentage and 1.98 GAA. Fleury finished third in both categories, earning him the Jennings alongside competent play by Lehner, and ultimately the Vezina as well.
The NHL’s general managers liked Fleury for the Vezina this year, but it was a close race. The veteran received 14 first-place votes and 108 total voting points, while Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2018-19 Vezina winner and a finalist four years running, received 12 first-place votes and 99 total voting points. Others receiving votes included finalist Philipp Grubauer of the Avalanche and reigning Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck of the Jets.