Hellebuyck, Rask and Vasilevskiy named finalists for Vezina Trophy

By WGR 550 SportsRadio

The National Hockey League announced the finalists for the Vezina Trophy on Friday for the goaltender who has been "adjudged to be the best at this position." This award is voted on annual by the general managers of all 31 teams in the NHL.

This year's three finalists for the Vezina Trophy are Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Who's your pick to win the Vezina Trophy: Connor Hellebuyck, @tuukkarask or Andrei Vasilevskiy? -- #NHLAwards @NHLdotcom has more ➡️ https://t.co/oEt9kiHGWc pic.twitter.com/qAIW30Fflk

— NHL (@NHL) July 17, 2020

This is the second time that Hellebuyck has been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as he finished second in voting to Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne in 2018.

The 27-year-old netminder put up some excellent numbers in his fifth season with the Jets, playing in a league-high 58 games and registering a 31-21-5 record. He led the league in both shots faced (1,796) and saves (1,656), while posting a respectable .922 save percentage, a 2.57 goals-against average and a league-high six shutouts. Overall, Hellebuyck has posted a career 148-85-22 record in his time in Winnipeg, while also posting a .917 save percentage, a 2.64 goals-against average and 22 shutouts.

Winnipeg finished the 2019-20 campaign with a 37-28-6 record and finished fifth in the Central Division with 80 points in the standings. The Jets are getting ready to take on the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round for the chance to advance to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

2019-20 Vezina Trophy finalist: Connor HellebuyckHellebuyck, who became the first goaltender in @NHLJets / Thrashers history to lead the NHL in shutouts, can also be the first goaltender in franchise history to capture the award. https://t.co/oe3aoZcBB2 #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/OyPn0D7LKN

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 17, 2020

Rask is back in the top-three discussion for the Vezina Trophy for the first time since 2014 when he beat out Ben Bishop and Semyon Varlamov. It is also his second time being named as a finalist for the award, but he will look to make it a perfect two-for-two.

The 33-year-old ended up leading the league in goals-against average for netminders who had player 30 or more games this past season at 2.12, while finishing second in save percentage with a .929 mark. He went on to have another great year in Boston with a 26-8-6 record in 41 starts, while also posting five shutouts. Since taking over as the starting goalie in Boston in the 2012-13 season, Rask is proven to be one of the best goalies in the league, registering a 244-123-53 record in 434 games, while posting a 2.28 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and 39 shutouts.

Along with backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak, Rask helped lead the Bruins to a league-best 44-14-12 record with 100 points in the standings, which was good enough to earn Boston the Presidents' Trophy. The goaltending duo in Boston also ended up winning the William M. Jennings Trophy this past season for "the goaltender(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it based on regular season play."

Boston will compete in the seeding round-robin tournament in the Eastern Conference for the chance at the top-seed in the East for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They will also compete with the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals in round-robin play.

2019-20 Vezina Trophy finalist: Tuukka Rask@tuukkarask, who captured the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14, is vying for his second win in as many appearances as a finalist. https://t.co/oe3aoZcBB2 #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/H1qrtEyHSP

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 17, 2020

As for Vasilevskiy, the 25-year-old goaltender is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for a third consecutive year. After finishing third in the voting back in 2018, the Russian netminder ended up winning his first Vezina in 2019, beating out Bishop and Robin Lehner.

In 52 games played this season in Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy ended up leading the league with 35 wins, while losing just 14 games in regulation and three games in overtime or a shootout. He also finished his 2019-20 season with a .917 save percentage, a 2.56 goals-against average and three shutouts. In his six years with the Lightning organization, Vasilevskiy has developed into one of the best young goaltenders in the NHL, posting a career 159-73-18 record with a .919 save percentage, a 2.55 goals-against average and 21 shutouts.

After a slow start to the 2019-20 season, the Lightning re-gained their form and were able to finish the year with a 43-21-6 record and 92 points, which was good for second place in the Atlantic Division. Just like Boston, they will be competing in the seeding round-robin tournament in the Eastern Conference once the Return To Play plan officially commences on Saturday, Aug. 1 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

2019-20 Vezina Trophy finalist: Andrei VasilevskiyVasilevskiy, who celebrates his 26th birthday on July 25, is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and a finalist for the third consecutive season (3rd in 2017-18). #NHLStats #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/ASIX0UZ7Nn

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 17, 2020

The winner of the Vezina Trophy will be announced by the league during the Conference Finals or before the Stanley Cup Final.

Here is the list of other award finalists to be named in the coming days:
  • Monday, July 20: Norris Trophy, Selke Trophy
  • Tuesday, July 21: Hart Trophy