So Connor Hellebuyck has been named a finalist of the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL.
Will he win? No. He won’t. He shouldn’t.
He didn’t have the best season of any of more than 90 NHL goaltenders.
Linus Ullmark was amazing for the Bruins through 82 games. Make no mistake about it.
Quite frankly, this is a classic situation of “being nominated is enough of an honour.”And for Connor, and the Jets, that might be enough. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Given the season this team had, any award is a positive.
Linus Ullmark will win the Vezina Trophy. Remember, this is for the regular season, not the playoffs. And I’m not sure whether it’s irony or coincidence, but none of the three finalists for this trophy got beyond the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs: not Ullmark, not Sorokin, not Hellebuyck.
After all, this is hockey. This isn’t a sport of individuals. This is the ultimate team sport.
For the third time in six seasons — Connor Hellebuyck is a Vezina Trophy finalist! 🗣️ 🗣️ 🗣️
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) May 11, 2023
Also remember, this is a regular-season award. Not for one second can we look at Jake Oettinger or Sergei Bobrovsky or — heaven forbid — Stuart Skinner for the Vezina and say they are Vezina candidates.
No. This is an award voted by the general managers for October to April.
And like the Jets’ season, Connor Hellebucyk had a ton to cheer about. A ton to savour. And a ton of angst. And in reality, it just wasn’t good enough.
Connor Hellebuyck led the NHL in starts (64) & percentage of team wins (37 of 46, 80.4%), guiding the @NHLJets to the playoffs. The 2019-20 Vezina winner had a SV% above .900 in 43 starts, the highest such figure in the NHL. #NHLAwards#NHLStats: https://t.co/C5DhpYm1yV pic.twitter.com/Lkx75wByS2
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 11, 2023
The nomination is enough. And that may make you feel a little warm inside today or on awards night in Nashville in June.
But please ask yourself one simple question. does it makes this team, the Jets, closer to winning the Stanley Cup?
Don’t be angry. … I’m just asking the questions.
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