In case you haven’t heard, the NHL won’t be announcing their awards at the annual award show. Thanks to the lockout, fans will be spared Jay Mohr making awful jokes and mispronouncing player names. Instead, some awards will be released on Friday night, while the big ones will be announced before Game 2 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night.
One of those awards set to be announced prior to Game 2 is that of the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s top goaltender for the 2013 season. In the mix to be named the winner of the Vezina Trophy is Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, who could potentially be considered a favorite for the award.
Currently stuck in contract negotiations with the Blue Jackets, as he’s a restricted free agent, Bobrovsky has to be considered the favorite for the award. One could have even made the argument that he should have been in the mix for the Hart Trophy as well, as the league’s most valuable player.
Without Bobrovsky, there’s no way the Blue Jackets could achieve what they did in 2013, sticking around in the playoff race until the final day of the regular season. In his first full season as a starter, Bobrovsky skyrocketed, right up to the ranks of the league’s elite netminders.
Bobrovsky’s numbers for the 2013 season were outstanding. His 2.00 goals against average was the best in the league among goaltenders that made at least 30 starts. His .932 save percentage trailed only Craig Anderson, who also made 13 less starts than Bobrovsky.
The other goaltenders up for the award, Antti Niemi and Henrik Lundqvist, both had fine seasons. But neither of them had to carry the load in the way that Bobrovsky did, taking a team with little offensive support and turning them into a playoff contender. He should be taking home some hardware over the weekend, adding yet another reason why the Blue Jackets better get ready to open their wallets just a little bit wider.