Each season, NHL general managers vote on the Vezina Trophy, which goes to the best goalie. They have made quite a few mistakes.
Each season, the Vezina Trophy is awarded to the NHL goaltender “adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all clubs”. Simply put, it goes to whoever the GMs think had the best season as a goaltender.
Obviously, “best” is a very subjective term, especially when it comes to goalies. Hockey analytics have improved immensely in the last five years, but most people are still mostly stuck with wins, save percentage, and GAA for goalies. Sure, there are useful stats like GSAA (goals saved above average), but when’s the last time you heard someone in a front office reference that?
This makes voting for the “best” goaltender difficult. Which means there have been some very controversial Vezina Trophy winners. I’m here to take a look at the five worst winners of all-time.
First, let’s set some boundaries. I’m not including any winner before the 1981-82 season because before then, the Vezina simply went to goalies of the team that allowed the fewest goals. It was what we know today as the William B. Jennings Trophy. This gives me 37 possible Vezina winners to choose from (the 2019-20 winner hasn’t been named yet).
Also, I’m only looking at single seasons. For example, Jose Theodore might be the worst goalie to win a Vezina Trophy since 1981. However, in the season he won the Vezina, he was unquestionably the best goalie. I’m looking for goalies who didn’t deserve to win.
So let’s get to it and look at the five worst Vezina Trophy winners in NHL history.
5. Pete Peeters (1982-83)
Pete Peeters (one of the best names in hockey history, by the way) had a pretty solid season in 1982-83. In 63 starts, he finished with 40 wins with an impressive at the time .903% save percentage and a 2.37 GAA. Peeters received all 21 of the first place votes.
However, knowing what we know now, Roland Melanson of the New York Islanders was a more deserving candidate. While he only played in 44 games, he finished with a .909% save percentage, the highest mark in the league.
Also, Peeters’ job was made relatively easy by the Boston Bruins, who allowed the fewest shots against per game in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Islanders ranked seventh.