(via NHL Communications) - Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights, Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy, awarded “to the goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position,” the National Hockey League announced today.
NHL general managers submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winners of the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone will be revealed during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.
Following are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights
Fleury, who combined with Robin Lehner to capture the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the team that allowed the fewest goals during the regular season, ranked third in the NHL in wins (26), goals-against average (1.98), save percentage (.928) and shutouts (6) in 36 appearances. Fleury – who closed the season on a nine-game winning streak (April 11 – May 12: 1.43 GAA, .943 SV%, 2 SO) – climbed two spots into third place on the League’s all-time wins list (492), surpassing Ed Belfour (5th; 484) and Roberto Luongo (4th; 489). He also moved into a tie, with Roy Worters, for 14th place on the NHL’s all-time shutout list (67). The 36-year-old Sorel, Que., native – who yielded two or fewer goals in 25 of his 36 outings (69.4%) en route to posting the best goals-against average and save percentage of his 17-season NHL career – is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time. He is seeking to become the first player in Golden Knights history to win the award, following the four individual trophies the team claimed during its inaugural season in 2017-18.
Philipp Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche
Grubauer, another first-time finalist, shared the League lead with a career-high seven shutouts and ranked second in both wins (30) and goals-against average (1.95) – also personal bests – to help the Avalanche capture the Presidents’ Trophy for the third time in franchise history. He earned victories in 30 of his 40 total appearances (.750), the second-highest winning percentage among goaltenders with a minimum of five games played in 2020-21, behind only Jack Campbell (.773 in 22 GP w/ TOR). Grubauer – who also placed among the League leaders in starts (5th; 39), time on ice (5th; 2,366:52) and save percentage (8th; .922) – is the third netminder in Avalanche/Nordiques history who has been voted a Vezina Trophy finalist (following Patrick Roy: 2x and Semyon Varlamov) and is vying to become the franchise’s first player to win the award. The 29-year-old Rosenheim, Germany, native also is looking to become the second goaltender of German nationality to win the Vezina Trophy, after Olie Kolzig in 1999-00 (w/ WSH).
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
Vasilevskiy topped the NHL with 31 victories, marking the fourth consecutive season he has led the League in wins (outright or tied) – a feat last achieved by Martin Brodeur from 2002-03 through 2006-07 (4x w/ NJD). That total was aided by a 12-game winning streak from Feb. 22 – March 23 (1.64 GAA, .938 SV%, 3 SO), tied for the seventh-longest such run in NHL history in addition to being both a career high and a franchise record. Vasilevskiy – who established and matched single-season personal bests for goals-against average and save percentage, respectively – also ranked among the top goaltenders in points (t-1st; 4), saves (2nd; 1,144), time on ice (2nd; 2,523:37), games played (t-3rd; 42), shutouts (4th; 5), save percentage (6th; .925) and goals-against average (8th; 2.21). The 26-year-old Tyumen, Russia, native – who won the Vezina Trophy in 2018-19 and finished third in voting in both 2017-18 and 2019-20 – is a finalist for the fourth straight year, a streak last accomplished by Brodeur from 2002-03 through 2007-08 (5x).
Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the NHL in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, the outstanding Canadiens goaltender who collapsed during an NHL game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later. Before the 1981-82 season, the goaltender(s) of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season was awarded the Vezina Trophy.
The three finalists for the 2021 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone are being announced through Friday, June 11. The series of announcements continues Wednesday, June 2, when the three finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award will be unveiled.
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