The position of the goaltender has become more vital than ever. The style of gameplay changes, the offense becomes more fluent, and today’s goaltender has to be more athletic than ever.
Hockey players are getting better at creating scoring chances, and goaltenders have to be quicker than ever in order to win the Vezina Trophy.
The goaltenders of today are different than those of years past. The quirks of a goaltender that most find interesting are the same things that make these masked warriors the most critical position in the game today.
The Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best overall goaltender at the end of the season, gets more difficult to hand out as the goaltenders keep improving, and the list of goaltenders who can win this award gets longer every year.
Who are the top five Vezina Trophy candidates this season?
While the goaltending position is the best it has been, it is the most pressure-filled. Below are the top five candidates for the Vezina Trophy, as I see it so far this year. The crop of goaltenders may be the best five in the league.
The goaltenders below are goaltenders nobody expected to be great. My five candidates below are having seasons, some having elite numbers.
While the statistics could change throughout the season, these are my picks as the season stands now. All have played the best and rank amongst the top goaltending statistics this year. Most of these goaltenders would be considered second-tier, but they are posting elite-level numbers across the board.
All but one of these netminders are from the Eastern Conference. Is there a discussion about the best goaltender in the league and whether any of these players would qualify? It is never too early to give recognition to those who are playing hockey between the pipes.
My top five choices for the Vezina Trophy as of week four of the 2022-2023 NHL season are below.