It’s official: Igor Shesterkin is the best goaltender in the NHL.
Well, for 2021-22 at least, as Shesterkin was named the Vezina Trophy winner on Tuesday night, beating out 1 and 2 in the voting conducted by NHL general managers and announced at the NHL’s annual awards ceremony.
The Vezina is awarded to the “goaltender adjudged to be the best at his position,” and Shesterkin was just that, leading the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, becoming just the third goalie ever (min. 50 appearances) to post a save percentage of .935 or better.
Overall, the 26-year-old was 36-13-4 record with six shutouts, his win total sixth in the NHL and his six shutouts third in the league. In terms of advanced stats, he had a .900 save percentage in 75 percent of his starts this past season (the highest rate in the NHL, minimum 20 starts), and his .929 save percentage when short-handed was second in the league.
He was also at his best when under fire, as per Rangers PR, Shesterkin was 24-7-2 when facing 30 or more shots in a game, and 4-0-0 when he saw 40 or more.
Shesterkin is the third Ranger to win the Vezina in the “modern” era and sixth overall; prior to 1981-82, the Vezina was awarded to the goaltenders of the team that allowed the fewest goals (that is now the William M. Jennings Trophy), so Igor joins Henrik Lundqvist in 2011-12 and John Vanbiesbrouck in 1986-85 as true winners.
Prior to ’81-82, the Rangers had two Vezinas: one shared by Ed Giacomin & Gilles Villemure in 1970-71, and one given to Dave Kerr in the Stanley Cup season of 1939-40.
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