The NHL released the names of the three finalists for the Vezina trophy today, and Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is on the ballot. Joining Bob in the running for the award given to the NHL's best goaltender are reigning Vezina-winner Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and San Jose's Antti Niemi.
Last week I gave my pitch for why I think Bob should win, and I stand by my reasoning. He was the best regular season goaltender this past season, and fully deserves the award. The NHL general managers vote on the Vezina, and it's hard to say how much stock making the playoffs carries with them. It's a regular season award, but often times making the playoffs can be a tiebreaker for a voter.
This is the second time that a Columbus goaltender has been up for the Vezina- you'll recall Steve Mason was a finalist in 2009. He ended up winning the Calder Trophy that year, but since then has struggled mightily and is looking for a fresh start in Philadelphia. Given his strong rookie season, and amazing showing this year, I don't think Bob is in line for the same kind of plummet that Mason experienced. Vezina or not, this nomination shows that the Columbus cage is in good hands for the foreseeable future. This all hinges of course on Bob getting a long-term deal signed with the Jackets- he's a restricted free agent on July 1st. That said, I'm sure ownership will have no problem forking over the dough to retain Bob as the top cop in Columbus.
The winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup final, according to the press release.