The 2021-22 NHL season is right around the corner. Preseason games are in full swing, roster positions are being set, and goalies are preparing to stop the puck. One goalie in particular that has his sights on a monumental season is Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Vasilevskiy has been the number one goalie for the Lightning for the past five seasons. He has quickly risen as one of the premier goalies in the NHL. Last season Andrei was looked at as a potential Vezina Trophy recipient (Best Goalie in NHL Regular Season) but was ultimately outvoted by Marc-Andre Fleury.
This season, the 2018-19 Vezina award winner will look to get his second Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the game and due to these reasons, Vasilevskiy is in the driver’s seat to get that honor this year.
The Tampa Bay Lightning Will Continue to Win Games
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the best teams in the NHL for the past five seasons. They are the two-time defending champions and have no intentions of letting someone else walk away with the Stanley Cup.
Since Vasilevskiy has taken the reigns as the starting goaltender, the Tampa Bay Lightning have averaged points in 65% of their games. To be considered for the Vezina Trophy your team must perform well on the ice and in the standings.
Their defensive core is stable and their team with their superstars has the potential to put up goals in bunches. Even if Vasilevskiy has a bad day in the net, this team has the ability to carry the weight and bring home a win even on their goalie’s worst games.
The Lightning are showing no signs of slowing down and if Vasilevskiy has a strong start, expect his team to help him earn some hardware at the end of the regular season.
His Statistics are Consistently Improving
In 2016-17, Vasilevskiy posted a 23-17-7 record with a .917% save percentage with a goals-against-average of 2.61. That was as a young 22-year-old “prospect”, in the 2018-19 season when he won the Vezina Trophy, he ended with a 39-10-4 record, .925 SV%, and a GAA of 2.41.
Last year, the 26-year-old netminder finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting with a steller 31-10-1 record and a .925 save %, and a much-improved GAA of 2.21. In the 2020-21 season, Vasilevskiy had career bests in save percentage and goals against average.
He is only 26 years old, so this goaltender is in the middle of his prime with a team that has no indication they are going to be on the losing end of many hockey games.
Currently, his statistics are improving steadily and if they continue in the upward trend, expect Vasilevskiy’s name to be called as the recipient of the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the 2021-22 NHL season.