Lightning Round: Does Andrei Vasilevskiy belong into Vezina Trophy conversation?

The Lightning goaltender posted his 30th career shutout in the NHL last night.

Yesterday Andrei Vasilevskiy played perhaps his best game this season, stopping all 45 of his opponent’s shots  and helping the Tampa Bay Lightning  win a game they were supposed to lose. It was his second shutout this season and 30th overall during his NHL career, only two goaltenders have more since the moment Vasilevskiy debuted in the league.

His performance in last night’s game also raises the questions: does Andrei Vasilevskiy belong into Vezina Trophy conversation this season? Vasilevskiy is mostly flying under the radar this season, his numbers haven’t been very consistent, especially at the beginning of the season, but he managed to elevate his game starting in December. Even despite struggling in opening months, overall this season he has 28 wins in 44 starts, which puts him second in the league behind Linus Ullmark, a .919 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average.

His underlying advanced stats are also pretty solid this year. According to, he has 22.0 goals saved above expected in all situation, good for fifth place amongst all NHL goaltenders, or 0.500 goals saved above expected per 60. According to the same model, he also earned 3.66 wins above replacement, which also ranks him fifth in the league.

The main favourite this season is obviously Linus Ullmark. He leads all goalies in the NHL in wins (30), save percentage amongst goalies who played at least 15 games this year (.938 SV%) and has the lowest GAA (1.86 GAA). Since last night he also leads all NHL goaltenders in goals scored, but that shouldn’t be taken into account, while deciding who deserves the Vezina Trophy. Per, he’s also the best goaltender in the league with 33.8 GSAx this season, however there’s a difference between some popular models available for public. For example, ranks him second with 27.87 GSAx in all situation, while the New York Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin leads with a huge margin and has 41.98 GSAx in 45 games this season. Ilya Sorokin also tied with Darcy Kuemper for the most shutouts in the NHL with five of them.

Amongst the main favourites for Vezina Trophy this season are also Connor Hellebuyck and Jake Oettinger. Hellebuyck currently ranks third in the league with 26 wins this season and established himself as one of the best goaltenders in the world over the last years, while the 24-year-old Oettinger is playing his best hockey in his short NHL career and is one of the reasons why the Dallas Stars are leading their division and should be considered as Stanley Cup contenders this year.

Andrei Vasilevskiy most likely won’t win the Vezina Trophy this season and probably won’t even make it as the finalist due to wide competition. However, knowing how NHL general managers, who vote for the Vezina Trophy after the end of the regular season, values wins as one of the main factors, Vasilevskiy might have a shot. In their latest installment of Trophy Tracker series by, which often reflects the opinion amongst general managers in the league, Vasilevskiy ended fifth, while Linus Ullmark and Connor Hellebuyck received most of the votes.

The Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, thanks to Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 45 saves on that night. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn recorded each two points in that game [Raw Charge]

Coaches will often say that they need their best players to be their best players. Against the Detroit Red Wings, the best player in the building by far was Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Big Cat made 45 saves, several of the sparkling variety to pick up his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 win on the road. Brayden Point, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov all posted a goal and an assist as the Bolts overcame stole two points from a Detroit team trying to return to the playoffs.

Unfortunately the Syracuse Crunch were defeated by the Hartford Wolf Pack last night. Hugo Alnefelt stopped 21 out of 24 shots in this game, Gabriel Dumont scored the only goal for Syracuse.

Hockey News

11 games were played in the NHL last night.

The Nashville Predators traded Nino Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets for a second round in 2024 NHL draft.

The St. Louis Blues claimed Kasperi Kapanen off waivers, who was placed there by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

The Patrick Kane’s saga continues as a 34-year-old player returned home yesterday and didn’t play for the Chicago Blackhawks against the San Jose Sharks. Reportedly the Blackhawks are working with the Rangers on finalizing his deal.

Meanwhile the Rangers traded forward Vitaly Kravtsov to the Vancouver Canucks.

The Colorado Avalanche acquired goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the Boston Bruins in exchange for Shane Bowers.

According to Jeff Marek, the PWHPA will announce a new league during a championship weekend on March 10-12.