The NHL announced the Vezina trophy nominations today and boy oh boy are they a doozie. Braden Holtby and Ben Bishop picked up well-deserved nominations after playing fine seasons, but aren't there three goalies nominated....oh, yes, here we go. Jonathan Quick.
Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby and Jonathan Quick are the Vezina Trophy nominees.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 27, 2016
Huh. Let me double check the Vezina nomination definition real quick.
The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League's (NHL) goaltender who is "adjudged to be the best at this position". At the end of each season, the thirty NHL general managers vote to determine the winner.
So, no, the NHL didn't change the description of the award; it's not supposed to go to the most average goalie in the league. How did this happen? Well, first off is that Quick played in a *lot* of games this season. Quick's 68 games played is the most in the NHL — only 10 played 60 or more. But his save percentage of .918 is relatively average. That puts him eighth among goalies who played at least 3,000 minutes and fifth among goalies who played at least 60 games.
His reputation probably helped, which is weird because his regular season reputation is...well, that he's pretty average. Quick has put up some great numbers in the playoffs in years passed (not so much this year) but his regular season save percentage over the past three seasons is just .915. That's 18th among goalies who played at least 9,000 minutes over the past three seasons.
The Vezina is voted on by NHL general managers, which perhaps offers some insight into why many organizations seem so perplexed by the position. Quick's nomination doesn't mean a whole lot, he's a long shot to win, but perhaps it tells us more about the general managers in this league than it does about the quality of the goaltending.