For most of the 2021-22 NHL season it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was going to win the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie.
On Tuesday, that became a reality.
Shesterkin was announced as the winner of the Vezina Trophy to cap off an absolutely remarkable season-long performance that saw him help carry the Rangers to their first playoff appearance in four years.
Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom and Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros were the other two finalists for the award. The award is voted on annually by the NHL’s 32 general managers.
Shesterkin finished the regular season as the league leader in save percentage (.935) and goals against average (2.07), while also recording six shutouts. He did all of that while playing behind a defense that was near the bottom of the league all season in terms of suppressing shots and scoring chances against.
Here is a look at how the voting played out.
There was an enormous difference in the Rangers’ overall success and record when Shesterkin was in the lineup versus when he was not, with the team going 36-13-4 in the games where he was the goalie of record (a 117-point pace over 82 games) and 16-11-3 (a 96-point pace over 82 games) in the games where he was not the goalie of record. Shesterkin’s pace would have been a Presidents’ Trophy level of play. The non-Shesterkin pace would have been a fringe playoff team.
Even though playoff performance did not factor into the voting, Shesterkin was also outstanding in the postseason for the Rangers, helping to carry them to the Eastern Conference Final where they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He finished the postseason with a .929 save percentage in his 20 starts and was the biggest reason for the Rangers’ run. The Rangers’ defensive play in front of him was some of the weakest we have seen from a Conference Finalist in the salary cap era, which only further highlights Shesterkin’s dominance and outstanding play.
Other NHL Award Winners announced earlier in the playoffs
Jack Adams Award: Darryl Sutter, Calgary Flames
Lady Byng Trophy: Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets
Masterton Trophy: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.