The NHL announced the finalists for the Vezina Trophy on Tuesday morning. The award goes to the best goalie of that season, according to NHL general managers. The 2021 finalists are the Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer, the Golden Knights’ Marc Andre-Fleury, and the Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.

While all of these players are very deserving, there are a couple of notable omissions. Nashville’s Juuse Saros and Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck are the two names getting the most buzz right now. In particular, folks that think Saros should have been a finalist are bringing to light his value to the Predators. Their run from April through May was spectacular. Accordingly, Saros was as well. His performances catapulted them into playoff contention.

Now, it is noteworthy to mention that the award is mostly considered to be a regular-season award. That means that Saros’ very impressive playoff series against Carolina would not play in his favor. At the same time, there are some statistics that show how impressive “Juice” was for the Preds this season.

The Preds goalie was the league leader in even-strength save percentage among all goalies at .942. Furthermore, he made the difficult saves when they needed to be made. His high danger save percentage was third in the NHL. The only finalist with a better number in that category was Vasilevskiy. That shows he was constantly robbing opposing teams of their best scoring chances. The best goalies in the NHL excel in that. Also, Saros was third in the league in Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA). Even when his defense let him down at times, Juuse was making the remarkable saves.

Overall, the dynamic of the award is clear. The finalists were the top three goaltenders in wins and were three of the top four in shutouts. The stats that GMs should recognize needs to go deeper than that, though. The Vezina Trophy is an individual award, not a team award. Looking at only wins and shutouts puts too much emphasis on the team around the goalie. Saros deserves the recognition for his work in making the Predators a playoff team.


https://atozsportsnashville.com/juuse-saros-snubbed-as-a-vezina-trophy-finalist/
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