2013 NHL Awards: Bobrovsky for Vezina

The Vezina spotlight should be squarely on Sergei Bobrovsky. - Kirk Irwin

Though the Jackets fell agonizingly short of the playoffs, Sergei Bobrovsky put up a Vezina-caliber campaign.

It's not just those of us who follow the Blue Jackets closely who know how good Sergei Bobrovsky is.

We all call him Bob, though the chin area of his goalie mask would tell you perhaps he prefers "Bobs". No matter what you call him, adding the phrase "Vezina Trophy Winner" before his name sounds oh-so-good, and he fully deserves the honor.

The Vezina Trophy is of course given annually to the league's best goaltender.

Rewind to January 19th, the date of the season opener for the Jackets. Columbus was on the road in Nashville, opening the book on a shortened season. Though the Jackets weren't playing at home, there was excitement in the air surrounding the team, and hockey in general. The Jackets were coming off their most active offseason in club history, trading their superstar and adding versatile forwards like Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno. One offseason move received little fanfare- the acquisition of Bobrovsky from the Flyers. Nobody knew what to expect from the new goalie, but one thing we did know- he was starting the season opener.

Center Ice on the television, tuned to the Columbus-Nashville game-check. Suds-check. Snacks-check. Jersey-check.

Puck drop, and the 2013 Columbus Blue Jackets season has begun!

Awwwww what the $#*@!

Just 0:39s into the new season, Nashville's Martin Erat skates across the Columbus blueline, wristing a soft shot past the new guy. One of those goals you always hear the color guy saying "he'd love to have that one back".

I know I wasn't alone in thinking, "here we go again..." when I see our new goalie look just like the old goalie, and the one before him, and the one before him...

It took a few games for us all to change our tune on the new guy. He started to play better and better, and was gaining the trust of the fans, and most importantly- the trust of his teammates and coaches. He went from being the new guy, to our beloved Bob. You can go back to a game in the beginning of March to see where this transformation started to take place. Coming off of a hard-fought overtime loss to the Blackhawks with Steve Mason in net, the nod was given to Bob to start the next game against the lowly Avalanche. It was the first game of an extended home stand, and though the Jackets didn't play their best game, Bob looked good and the Jackets won in extra time.

Two days later, the Oilers were in town, but Mason got the start. That lasted until seconds into the middle period, when a Magnus Paajarvi goal chased Mase, in favor of Bob. Bob absolutely shut the door the rest of the way, stopping two in the shootout en route to the victory. It was from that game on that the new guy became our Bob, transformation complete.

Bob went on a tear to close out the regular season, and it was no coincidence that the Jackets were in playoff contention the rest of the way too. He finished the regular season with stellar numbers:

GP GS RECORD SV% GAA SO
38 37 21-11-6 0.932 2.00 4

It's difficult to prorate Save Percentage and Goals-Against Average, but you can project wins and shutouts. A rough projection of a full season for Bob could look something like this:

GP
GS
RECORD
SV%
GAA
SO
65
63
35-18-10
0.932
2.00
6

Compare that with the numbers for the past five Vezina winners:

NAME RECORD SV% GAA SO
Henrik Lundqvist '11-'12 39-18-5 0.930 1.97 8
Tim Thomas '10-'11 35-11-9 0.938 2.00 9
Ryan Miller '09-'10 41-18-8 0.929 2.22 5
Tim Thomas '08-'09 36-11-7 0.933 2.10 5
Martin Brodeur '07-'08 44-27-6 0.920 2.17 4


Bob's prorated numbers for a full 82-game season put him right in the conversation with previous winners. To see just how well he compared to the other goaltenders this season, I came up with a very basic evaluation- I ranked the 26 goaltenders who started a minimum of half of their teams' games (24 starts). I took their relative rank in three categories- wins, goals-against average and save percentage, and summed the ranking. The lower the number, the better, as that would indicate the player was ranked high in the respective categories.

NAME
GS
WIN RANK
GAA RANK
SV% RANK
SCORE
Henrik Lundqvist
43
1
4
5
10
Antti Niemi
43
1
7
6
14
Ondrej Pavelec
43
3
21
14
38
Jimmy Howard
42
3
6
7
16
Pekka Rinne
42
7
11
12
30
Niklas Backstrom
41
1
14
13
28
Evgeni Nabokov
41
2
15
12
29
Ilya Bryzgalov
40
4
20
18
42
Ryan Miller
39
6
22
10
38
Carey Price
38
3
18
14
35
Sergei Bobrovsky
37
3
3
2
8
Devan Dubnyk
37
8
16
8
32
Jonathan Quick
36
5
12
16
33
Braden Holtby
35
2
17
8
27
Kari Lehtonen
35
7
19
9
35
Tuukka Rask
34
4
3
3
10
Mike Smith
34
7
17
12
36
Semyon Varlamov
33
11
23
15
49
James Reimer
31
4
13
6
23
Marc-Andre Fleury
31
2
10
9
21
Cory Schneider
30
6
5
4
15
Martin Brodeur
29
9
8
17
34
Corey Crawford
28
4
2
5
11
Jonas Hiller
25
7
9
11
27
Craig Anderson
24
10
1
1
12
Miikka Kiprusoff
24
14
24
19
57

From this basic evaluation, you can see that Bob was the only goaltender who started at least half of his teams' games to finish with a single-digit score. His numbers were that good. Henrik Lundqvist and Tuukka Rask weren't far behind. Corey Crawford finished third in my format, and Craig Anderson fourth, but he only just qualified at 24 starts. Antii Niemi, Corey Schneider and Jimmy Howard weren't far behind. These eight goaltenders were a full tier above their caged cohorts, and represent the 2013 regular season elite. Bob was the best of the bunch from a strictly numbers perspective.

When looking at these elite eight, you can immediatly see something that could work against Bob in the Vezina voting- Bob is the only one who's team failed to qualify for the playoffs.

The Vezina is voted on by the 30 NHL General Managers, and though making the postseason shouldn't be taken into account when voting for a regular season award, it can be a tiebreaker if a GM is on the fence while voting. That said, Bob's season was spectacular and I'm sure every GM not named Paul Holmgren will agree.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Cannon

You must be a member of The Cannon to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Cannon. You should read them.

Join The Cannon

You must be a member of The Cannon to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Cannon. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker