Unlike a year ago when Montreal’s Carey Price was the no-doubt-about-it winner of the Vezina Trophy, the 2015-16 season had no sure thing.
Three weeks ago, THN made the case for the 10 goalies who were deserving of votes. On Wednesday, the NHL unveiled the three finalists for the award given to “the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position.” They are Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, Washington’s Braden Holtby, and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick.
— #StanleyCup Playoffs (@NHL) April 27, 2016
Holtby, who we’ll call the front-runner, and Bishop are very much deserving and worthy finalists. If there’s a surprise in this group, it’s Quick. Not that he had a bad season by any means. But Quick getting more votes than, say, Chicago’s Corey Crawford or New Jersey’s Cory Schneider is a bit of head scratcher.
Quick was second in the league with 40 wins, but his .918 save percentage was only 11th best among goalies who played at least 2,500 minutes. Bishop, Crawford, Schneider and Holtby were Nos. 1-4 in that category. Even the NHL’s official PR Twitter account, when boasting about his stats, could only point to his league-leading minutes played and appearances.
Holtby tied an NHL record with 48 wins, and was top-four in goals-against average, and save percentage. Though perhaps Bishop can sneak up and steal the award. He led the league in both GAA and SP, though he started six fewer games than Holtby, and eight fewer than Quick.
The NHL Awards will be held on June 22.