As the 2021-2022 NHL season heads into its 5th week, some notable goaltenders have emerged as front-runners for the Vezina trophy, a prestigious trophy awarded to the best goaltender of the season. Some early favorites from the summer, such as Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskei remain hot. At the same time, other likely winners, including reigning trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, have become less favorable after ten games. This list will provide you with a top-5 list of the top candidates for this year’s Vezina trophy based on records and advanced statistics so far.
After departing from his draft team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, over the summer, Frederick Anderson was not expected to be leading all goalies in the League in wins right now. The Danish netminder has fit right into the Carolina Hurricanes and won eight games while losing only one in the process. This 9-year veteran currently holds a 1.83 goal against average and a .939 save percentage. Anderson also has an incredible 9.5 in the goals saved above the expected category.
One of the major surprises of the current NHL season is Sergei Bobrovsky’s seemingly sudden return to his prime. After losing his starting role to rookie Spencer Knight during last year’s postseason, the Russian bounced back stronger than anyone would have believed. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner has maintained his undefeated record by this article, winning six games and dropping zero. The 33-year old’s other statistics are beyond amazing as well. The Bovocuznetsk native currently holds 1.72 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage, while also having a whopping 14.4 goals saved above expected.
Being the third Russian on this list, Igor Shesterkin is the youngest out of the three. Entering only his third NHL season, the young Rangers goaltender has shown much potential. So far this year, the Moscow native has wholly taken over the starting job and posted a 5-2-2 record for his New York Rangers. The Russian goalie also holds a 2.3 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage, and an impressive 8.5 goals saved above expected.
The fourth and final Russian on this list is New York Islanders’ netminder Ilya Sorokin. Due to the absence of last year’s starter and veteran Semyon Varlamov, Sorokin swiftly took over the Isles’ crease at the beginning of his second professional season. Despite the lack of experience, the 26-year-old Russian has a 5-2-2 record through the nine nines he’s started, and he also yielded 1.98 goals-against average, and a .939 save percentage. The young goaltender also has 6.4 goals saved above expected in the advanced statistics section.
Starting the season with a 5-2 record, Andrei Vasilevskei continues to backbone his Lightning team and start strong. After losing critical pieces like Brayden Point from last year’s cup-winning run, the Lightning seeks more support between the pipes. The 6-foot-3 Russian hasn’t disappointed, posting 2.4 goals-against average and a .919% save percentage. In the advanced statistics department, the Tampa Bay goalie has 4.2 goals saved above expected.