Apr 12, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) makes a glove save during the third period at the Prudential Center. The Senators defeated the Devils 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Can Ottawa Senators Goalie Craig Anderson Still Win The Vezina Trophy?

At the time of his injury on Feb 21, Craig Anderson was on a pace to capture the Vezina trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender.  Has the fact that he missed 20 games in a 48 game season due to the injury taken away the chance for the Senators’ goaltender to raise some NHL hardware?


I did a little research in to the past Vezina trophy winners to see if there is still a chance that Anderson could do enough to sway voters despite his lack of playing time.

Anderson has played in just 18 of Ottawa’s 41 games so far, and could play in up to 6 of the remaining 7 games.  Although I don’t think the Senators would want to wear him out heading into the playoffs, and Robin Lehner is a capable backup.  So to look conservatively, Anderson should probably play 5 of the last 7 to give him 23 of 48 games played, or just under 48% of his team’s games.

I wanted to see what history says.  Since the Vezina Trophy became an award that was voted on in 1981-82 (it was given to the netminding team allowing the fewest goal against prior to that), here are the winners, and the percentage of their team’s games the winner started.  I also include whether the winner led the league in Goals Against Average (GAA) and/or Save Percentage:

Year VEZINA WINNER GP Team GP % GP Highest SP Lowest GAA
81-82 Billy Smith 42 80 52.50 - no
82-83 Pete Peeters 62 80 77.50 - yes
83-84 Tom Barrasso 42 80 52.50 no no
84-85 Pelle Lindbergh 65 80 81.25 no no
85-86 John Vanbiesbrouck 61 80 76.25 no no
86-87 Ron Hextall 66 80 82.50 yes no
87-88 Grant Fuhr 75 80 93.75 no no
88-89 Patrick Roy 48 80 60.00 yes yes
89-90 Patrick Roy 54 80 67.50 yes no
90-91 Ed  Belfour 74 80 92.50 yes yes
91-92 Patrick Roy 67 80 83.75 yes yes
92-93 Ed  Belfour 71 84 84.52 no no
93-94 Dominik Hasek 58 84 69.05 yes yes
94-95 Dominik Hasek 41 48 85.42 yes yes
95-96 Jim Carey 71 82 86.59 no no
96-97 Dominik Hasek 67 82 81.71 yes no
97-98 Dominik Hasek 72 82 87.80 yes no
98-99 Dominik Hasek 64 82 78.05 yes no
99-00 Olaf Kolzig 73 82 89.02 no no
00-01 Dominik Hasek 67 82 81.71 no no
01-02 Jose Theodore 67 82 81.71 yes no
02-03 Martin Brodeur 73 82 89.02 no no
03-04 Martin Brodeur 75 82 91.46 no no
04-05 none
05-06 Miikka Kiprusoff 74 82 90.24 no yes
06-07 Martin Brodeur 78 82 95.12 no no
07-08 Martin Brodeur 77 82 93.90 no no
08-09 Tim Thomas 54 82 65.85 yes yes
09-10 Ryan Miller 69 82 84.15 no no
10-11 Tim Thomas 57 82 69.51 yes yes
11-12 Henrik Lundqvist 62 82 75.61 no no
12-13 ???

So, as you can see, it has been 20 years since a goalie who has played less than 75% of their team’s games has gone on to win the Vezina Trophy.  No goalie who has played less than 50% of his team’s games has ever won the Vezina trophy.  The closest  to that mark was 1981-82 and 1893-84 where Billy Smith and Tom Barrasso respectively won the award playing 52.5% of their team’s games.

So, what happens when a goalie leads the league in both SP and GAA?  Well, it has happened 11 times where one goalie has accomplished both feats.  Six times the goalie has gone on to win the Vezina, as listed above.  What about the other 5?  Well, it could be a factor of games played, as listed below.

Year Player GP Team GP % GP
11-12 Brian Elliott 38 82 46.34
09-10 Tuukka Rask 45 82 54.88
03-04 Mikka Kiprusoff 38 82 46.34
02-03 Marty Turco 55 82 67.07
00-01 Marty Turco 26 82 31.71

So judging by these facts, it would appear that Anderson is fighting an uphill battle in his quest for the Vezina.  Games played will be a big factor, since the only time a player played more than 60 % of his team’s games and didn’t win the Vezina while leading the league in both statistical categories was Turco in 2002-03.

Even if Anderson plays all 7 of Ottawa’s remaining games, that would give him only 52% of his team’s games.  While there is some recent precedent set for goalies (notably Tim Thomas) for not having a huge percentage of games played, Anderson’s 52% would be the lowest GP percentage to ever win the award, injury or no injury.

So Anderson has been arguably the best goalie in the NHL this season, the amount of time he missed due to injury will likely result in his being omitted from the honor when the ballots are submitted by the NHL’s General Managers.

Names that have been tossed around lately as contenders for the award include Sergei Bobrovsky, Carey Price, Antti Niemi, Niklas Backstrom, and Henrik Lundqvist.

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Tags: Billy Smith Craig Anderson Dominik Hasek Ed Belfour Martin Brodeur Ottawa Senators Patrick Roy Pete Peeters

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