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Islanders: Vezina top 5 shows how voting is flawed

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 16: The Vezina Trophy is displayed at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in advance of the 2019 NHL Awards on June 16, 2019 in Las Vegas. Nevada. The 2019 NHL Awards will be held on June 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 16: The Vezina Trophy is displayed at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in advance of the 2019 NHL Awards on June 16, 2019 in Las Vegas. Nevada. The 2019 NHL Awards will be held on June 19 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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We knew that Semyon Varlamov wouldn’t win the Vezina Trophy. The New York Islanders shot-stopper had a huge season but didn’t finish as one of the three favorites for top goalie honors.

Today, Marc-Andre Fleury was revealed as the winner. The firs-time he’s won the award in his career. But with the winner being named we also find out how the vote went. How far out was Semyon Varlamov from winning it or even the top three?

Turns out he wasn’t even close.

New York Islanders Semyon robbed of a top 3 finish for Vezina

Again, it was already known that Varlamov wouldn’t win the award, but he really should have. When you compare him to what were the top three goalies – Vasilevskiy, Fleury, and Grubauer – Varlamov was better than all of them.

*SV%, GAA, SO from NHL.com and for goalies with at least 20 games played
**GSAA from NaturalStatTrick and at 5on5

The only thing Varlamov didn’t have over the field was the same number of wins. The top three for the Vezina finished top three in wins on the season while Varlamov was tenth in wins with 19 in 35 starts. And that’s absurd.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, a team ‘stat’ such as wins shouldn’t be used in an individual award. Just consider this, Varlamov “lost” more games than the others but was better at stopping the puck. He was the better goalie but wasn’t recognized as such in the better goalie award. Wild.

Anyways. How far off was Varlamov from the Vezina? Like I said, it wasn’t close:

  • Fleury: 108pts (14-11-5)*
  • Vasilevskiy: 99pts (12-12-3)
  • Grubauer: 36pts (2-6-8)
  • Hellebuyck: 13pts (2-0-3)
  • Semyon Varlamov: 11pts (1-1-3)

*(first-place votes – second-place votes – third-place votes)

Connor Hellebuyck finished above Varlamov? How? I understand he’s a good goalie and that he won it last year, but he didn’t have a good season compared to his peers and specifically when compared to Varlamov:

Again, the only category where Connor Hellebuyck is “better” than Varlamov is in wins. Although, with 45 starts and 24 wins, his win percentage is lower than Varlamov’s.

The GMs clearly have no idea how to vote on this award. Don’t get me wrong, Marc-Andre is a worthy winner. He was a top goalie. What has me so worked up is that Varlamov finished 25 points out of the top three while Grubauer and Hellebuyck objectively had worse years than Varlamov.

The Islanders netminder was robbed of a top-three finish and a good chance to win the award because GMs use team metrics to evaluate the quality of a single player. Ridiculous.

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