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Andrei Vasilevskiy wins the first Vezina Trophy in Lightning team history


Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Andrei Vasilevskiy is the 2018-19 winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best goaltender in the NHL. This is Vasilevskiy’s first Vezina Trophy and the second time as a finalist after finishing 3rd place in the voting last season. He is also the first Tampa Bay Lightning player to win the Vezina trophy in the team’s more than 25 years in the NHL. He is also the second Russian goaltender to win the Vezina joining Sergei Bobrovsky who has won the award twice before.

Vasilevskiy finished the season with a 39-10-4 record in 53 games played. He had a .925 SV%, 2.40 GAA, and six shutouts. He also had a 26.40 GSAA, the best of his career. Vasilevskiy added three assists to set a new career high. He led the NHL in wins for the second season in a row. He finished 6th in save percentage and 9th in goals against average. He also finished 4th in shutouts. Vasilevskiy finished 2nd in Goals Saved Above Average.

Joining Vasilevskiy as finalists for the award were former Lightning netminder Ben Bishop now with the Dallas Stars and Robin Lehner of the New York Islanders.

Bishop led the league in Save Percentage and Goals Saved Above Average. He also came in third in the NHL in shutouts with seven. Bishop was a bit more limited in games played though as he only started 45 games and played in 46 games. He had a 27-15-2 record. His 32.24 GSAA was the best he has posted in his career. This was his third time as a Vezina finalist previously finishing 3rd in 2013-14 and 2nd in 2015-16.

Like Bishop, Lehner was more limited in his starts as he only started 43 games and played in 46 games. His .930 save percentage put him second in the league behind Bishop and his 2.13 GAA put him in third. He tied Vasilevskiy in shutouts with six. He also came in third just barely behind Vasilevskiy in GSAA. Lehner combined with Thomas Greiss to win the Jennings Award as the goaltenders of the team that gave up the least number of goals. This was Lehner’s first time as a Vezina finalist.

While digging into some of the deeper stats, Bishop and Lehner both had better seasons than Vasilevskiy in some metrics. However, Vasilevskiy played more games and got more wins, which are often important factors in the Vezina voting which is voted on by the General Managers.

It ended up not being a very close vote though as Vasilevskiy garnered 28 first place votes a 2 second place votes. I should also note that GMs are not allowed to vote for their own player to explain why Vasilevskiy did not appear on 31 ballots. Bishop picked up two first place votes and Marc-Andre Fluery got the other first place vote. Bishop appeared on 24 of the 30 possible ballots.