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Lightning Round: Andrei Vasilevskiy confirmed as a Vezina Trophy finalist

The Lightning signed a 22-year old defenceman

Tampa Bay Lightning v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Yesterday the NHL confirmed that Andrei Vasilevskiy has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the third straight year. A Tampa Bay Lightning goalie also led for the third straight year the whole league in wins, recording 35 of them in 52 games before the hiatus. Two other finalists are Connor Hellebuyck from the Winnipeg Jets and Tuukka Rask from the Boston Bruins.

Unlike the two previous nominations for the Vezina Trophy, being among this year’s finalists seems a little bit arguable for Vasilevskiy. Despite leading the NHL in wins and posting a 21-game point streak he has pretty average or even below average advanced statistics. According to Evolving-hockey.com he is still solid in GSAA (goals saved above average) ranking 9th with 8.1 GSAA at even strength, however his GSAx never reached positive numbers this season.

He finished as the 62nd goalie in the league with -6.05 goals saved above expected. It mostly caused due to his poor start of the season, although it needs to be mentioned that he managed to turn the things around, as the Russian goaltender admitted to Joe Smith of the Athletic, working with a psychologist also helped a lot. If you need some additional information on Andrey Vasilevskiy’s struggles in the first quarter of the regular season, Alan highlighted them in his article at the end of the last year.

On the other hand, knowing that the NHL general managers, who are responsible for naming finalists, value wins more than any other aspect of goalie performance, his nomination seems logical.

By many experts and analysts, the favourite for this season’s award is Connor Hellebuyck, he led the whole league in GSAx, recording 18.31 goals saved above expected, which is seven goals more than the next goalie, Corey Crawford. He is also the main reason why the Jets finished the shortened regular season with .563 point percentage, despite serious problems with their defense.

Another finalists is Tuukka Rask who has already won the Jennings Trophy alongside Jaroslav Halak for the fewest goals allowed in the league. Rask led the NHL in goals above average (2.12) and was second in save percentage (.929). The Finnish goalie has already won the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14 season.

The NHL have also announced finalists for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, which is given to “recognize the individual who has worked to make a positive impact on his or her community, culture or society to make people better through hockey.” This year’s finalists are Dampy Brar of Calgary, Alexandria Briggs-Blake of Oxon Hill, Maryland, and John Haferman of Columbus, you can learn more about their work by clicking the link below

Other News and Notes

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced signing of a defenseman Sean Day to one-year, two-way contract on a Friday afternoon. Geo has a informative profile of a player who once was granted an Exceptional Player Status by Hockey Canada [Raw Charge]

For the Lightning, Day will bring some depth in the minor leagues on the blue line. He should be given a chance to earn a spot with the Syracuse Crunch on the third pairing or as a 7th defenseman. If he can’t crack the line up though, he’d be a welcome addition to the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL.

Justin continued his “First goal“ series, yesterday it was Blake Coleman who joined the Bolts at the last Trade Deadline [Raw Charge]

Lightning fans might remember that in his only previous playoff appearance he recorded two goals in five games against the Lightning in 2017-18. One of those goals was a long distance, empty net, short handed goal that sealed the Devils only win in the series.

The long-time Lightning play-by-play voice Rick Peckham announced last year his retirement after the 2019-20 season. Joe Smith of the Athletic wrote about process of searching for his replacement [The Athletic, paid content]

If Peckham told the Lightning tomorrow he’d come back for another year, they’d stop the search process immediately, but the veteran broadcaster is secure in his decision (and judging by how much he plays golf, he’s very much excited for the next chapter). Peckham had plans to go to Wimbledon and the British Open with his wife Vicki this summer, though that’s been put on hold for another year.

Check out Bryan Burns’ report from the fourth day of Phase 3

The NHL confirmed the addition of Soul On Ice: The Podcast to its 2019-20 NHL Podcast lineup. It was premiered last March with filmmaker Kwame Damon Mason and co-hosts Los Angeles Kings prospect Akil Thomas and Niagara IceDogs defenseman Elijah Roberts

Vasy celebrated his nomination with new pads