The NHL's Awards season continues to roll on.
The NHL unveiled the finalists for yet another end-of-year honor on Tuesday morning, announcing Nashville's Juuse Saros, New York's Igor Shesterkin, and Calgary's Jakob Markstrom as the three leading candidates to take home the Vezina Trophy.
With so many strong goaltending performances this season, the 2022 Vezina race was one of the tightest in recent memory, as a number of other players assuredly would have scored nominations in years past.
Alas, there are no participation trophies in today's game. So we're left with these three.
Saros scores his first-ever nomination this season by following up a terrific pandemic-shortened 2021 campaign by officially cementing himself among the NHL's elite at his position. The 27-year-old started a whopping 67 of Nashville's 82 total games, a league-best number and stunning workload in the modern game, and helped carry the team to a playoff spot with a 38-25-3 record and a sparkling .918 save percentage.
After franchise icon Pekka Rinne announced his retirement right before the start of the season, Saros immediately stepped in to give Predators fans what looks to be another era of stellar goaltending.
While Saros spent the 2021-22 campaign cementing his elite status, Markstrom went to work re-establishing his own, dragging the Flames back to relevance with a terrific season that makes his pricey contract look less like an anchor and more like a bargain.
In 63 appearances, Markstrom went 37-15-9 with a league-leading nine shutouts, posting a fantastic .922 save percentage that gave Calgary its first top-line starter since, arguably, Mikka Kiprusoff.
And then there's Shesterkin, the youngest of the three finalists, who also enters the race as the consensus favorite.
The 26-year-old put together one of the strongest goalie campaigns in recent memory, dragging the Rangers to a playoff spot with a 36-13-4 record, six shutouts, and a ridiculous .935 save percentage that would have likely ended up being even higher were it not for am uncharacteristic late-stretch dip in play.
While the other two names on this list are undoubtedly worthy of recognition, the result here is obvious. Shesterkin is almost certainly the runaway Vezina winner, with any other choice being, in no unclear terms, the wrong one.
All that's left is to wait and see.