Tampa Bay Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy wins Vezina Trophy

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy captured his first-ever Vezina Trophy at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had such a tremendous season this year. Considering all the records the Lightning broke this season, it should come as no surprise the team would be well represented at the NHL Awards. Last night, the best and brightest in the hockey world gathered at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for the 2019 NHL Awards and the Bolts were out in full force.

The Lightning captured four of the six awards they were nominated for at the star-studded affair. One of those awards was presented to someone who arguably has one of the most difficult and underappreciated jobs on the team. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy captured his first-ever Vezina Trophy.

Despite dealing with a fractured left foot that left the 24-year-old Russian netminder sidelined for just about a month, Vasilevskiy turned a negative into a positive by posting some of the best numbers of his career with the time he had.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stood strong between the pipes for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 53 games in the 2018-19 season. During this time, he maintained a 39-10-4 record with a Goals Against Average of 2.40 and a Save Percentage of .925. Vasy finished the season with the most wins in the NHL. He also finished sixth in the league in Save Percentage and ninth in the league in Goals Against Average.

The Big Cat was up against some pretty stiff, and some rather familiar, competition for the Vezina Trophy this season. Also nominated for the Vezina Trophy were Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop and New York Islanders netminder Robin Lehner.

As many Lightning fans will recall, Ben Bishop was nominated for this award multiple times during his time with the Bolts. Regrettably, despite how deserving the Bolts Nation knew he was, he was unable to capture the award during his time in Tampa.

The 2018-19 season was Andrei Vasilevskiy’s second-best season since joining the Lightning roster in the 2014-15 season. In the 2017-18 season, Vasilevskiy had a 44-17-3 record with a Goals Against Average of 2.62 and a Save Percentage of .920.

The fundamental difference between these two seasons is simple…12 games. Andrei Vasilevskiy played in 12 more games in the 2017-18 season than he did in the 2018-19 season. In other words, had he not suffered his foot injury in November, there’s a pretty solid chance Vasy could’ve set the bar even higher for himself.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans have a lot to look forward to in the 2019-20 season. The Lightning had many successes in the regular season. Regrettably, some of those successes fell by the wayside after their rather disappointing showing in the postseason. The good news is, a new season is an opportunity to right said wrongs and build on them to create a brighter future.

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Having a player like Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes for the Lightning essentially ensures an exciting season for players and fans alike. We don’t know about you, but we here at Bolts By The Bay can’t wait to see what the Vasilevskiy and the rest of the team have in store for the Bolts Nation in the coming season.