From 1927-1981, the Vezina Trophy was awarded to the goalie (or goalies) who allowed the fewest goals in the league. It was the Rocket Richard of goalie awards; there was no debate about who won the Vezina because it was a binary statistic award. In 1981, however, the William M. Jennings Trophy was created and usurped that award description. The Vezina Trophy's description was changed to the goalie "adjudged to be the best at this position." Suddenly, this objective award turns into a subjective one, and experiences all the negatives that come with a group of people who have their own individual ideas as to what "best at this position" means.
There have been 29 Vezina Awards that have been given out to NHL goaltenders since that change. 29 times NHL general managers have voted on who they judge to be "best at this position." Out of those 29 times, I can count on one hand the number of Vezinas awarded to a goalie on a Western Conference team. Four times has the Vezina been awarded to three Western Conference goalies, meaning 50% of the league has won it only 13.7% of the time.
Notice anything else about those goalies? They either played for a Canadian or an Original Six team. That means in the entire history of the Vezina award, no goalie outside of Canada, the Original Six, or the Eastern Conference has ever won. Ever. And with 46 years of two conferences, that becomes a bit concerning.
Below is a breakdown of the first, second, and third place votes based on current conferences and divisions. The data only goes back to 1993 because that was the earliest I could find.
Vezina Voting Results since 1993-94
|Category||1st Place||2nd place||3rd place||Overall|