The National Hockey League season is ending soon, and playoff races are heating up. Come playoff time, the best goaltenders must step up in massive ways if they are to help their respective teams make a deep run at a potential Stanley Cup.
One of the most sought-after awards for the NHL is the Vezina Trophy, given to the best goaltender in the regular season. Currently, there are three main players who will be hoping to have their name called for the award at the conclusion of the NHL season.
Linus Ullmark-Boston Bruins
The Vezina Trophy is Ullmark’s to lose at this point in the regular season. He has been the most consistent goalie all year long and is a major part of the Boston Bruins’ success this year.
Currently, Ullmark leads the NHL with 33 wins, a 1.97 goals-against average, and a .937 save percentage. Leading the NHL in these three categories is no small feat. He is also tied for 14th in the league with two shutouts on the season.
The Bruins most likely would not be where they are without Ullmark’s stellar play. His ability to bring consistency every game he plays in the net is a massive reason why he is at the top of the Vezina Trophy watch list.
Ilya Sorokin-New York Islanders
The New York Islanders are amid a playoff push as they are fighting for their wild-card hopes. While the Islanders have one of the league’s lowest-scoring offenses, Sorokin’s play has helped give New York a chance to make the playoffs this year.
Sorokin currently has a 24-19-6 record with a 2.40 goals-against average (7th in the NHL) and a .924 save percentage (3rd in the NHL). The most telling stat for the young netminder is his league-leading five shutouts.
Sorokin has the ability to steal games for his team. His actions are a direct result of the Islanders being in the playoff mix at the moment. That is why Ilya deserves a spot at the Vezina Trophy table this year.
Jake Oettinger-Dallas Stars
The Dallas Stars are having a stellar season as they push for a Central Division championship. They have the second-fewest goals against in the Western Conference, and their star netminder Jake Oettinger is a significant part of that.
Oettinger currently has 29 wins on the season (5th in the NHL), 2.40 goals against average (8th in the NHL), and a .920 save percentage (4th in the NHL).
His top ten performances in these categories give him the nod to be on this list. His play has put the Stars in a position to make a deep run in the NHL postseason this year.
All in all, these goaltenders have proven that they are at the top of their games. They all should get recognition from their organizations and fans, but ultimately one will be named the Vezina Trophy recipient at the conclusion of the NHL regular season.