Following a standout season, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
When the 2017-18 season first started, there was some uncertainty in the air here in the Bolts Nation. The Tampa Bay Lightning made a number of changes to the lineup, some of which weighed heavier on the minds of fans than others.
One of the most weighted moves was the decision to trade stellar netminder Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings along with a 5th Round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft in exchange for goaltender Peter Budaj, defenseman Erik Cernak, and a 7th Round pick and a Conditional pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
This would mean the Lightning’s backup goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, would be awarded the top spot between the pipes with Budaj as his backup. The question at the time was, “Is Vasilevskiy truly ready to play a full season as the top guy?” It turns out Vasilevskiy was completely ready for the job.
Tampa Bay Lightning
It was announced earlier this evening by the NHL that Andrei Vasilevskiy has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Joining Vasy on his journey to greatness is Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne and Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
Vasilevskiy has gone above and beyond between the pipes this season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. On more occasions than your average Bolts fan would like to admit, Vasilevskiy was able to compensate for the team’s defensive breakdowns and help bail his team out of an incredibly sticky situation.
In the 65 games the 23-year-old netminder played with the team this season, Vasy managed to bring home a 44-17-3 record with a Goals Against Average of 2.62 and a Save Percentage of .920. Vasilevskiy finished off the regular season tied for first place in the league, alongside Connor Hellebuyck, in wins with 44. He also tied for first place in shutouts, alongside Pekka Rinne, with eight.
By definition, the Vezina Trophy is awarded to the goaltender that is “adjudged to be the best at his position.” Andrei Vasilevskiy is undeniably the best candidate for the award. This is not a slight to the talent and skill of Pekka Rinne or Connor Hellebuyck. It’s simply a nod to how amazing Vasilevskiy has been in net since taking over the Number One spot for the Bolts.
While winning an award like the Vezina Trophy is an incredibly prestigious honor, Vasy is working towards a much greater cause at the moment. After forging their way through the regular season, which culminated with an intense battle for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, Vasilevskiy and his teammates are giving it their all in the hopes of bringing Lord Stanley’s Cup back to the Sunshine State.
The New Jersey Devils certainly aren’t making things easy for the Bolts. After suffering a 5-2 loss in Game One and a 5-3 loss in Game Two, the Devils surged back and handed the Lightning a 5-2 defeat in Game Three. Tomorrow night, the Lightning will look to get back on track and bring the Devils one step closer to elimination.