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Bobrovsky Slams Door Shut on Vezina Competition

After a month of March in which Sergei Bobrovsky went a sizzling 9-1-1 with a .967 save percentage and four shutouts, the Vezina Trophy race has likely ended. 

The Russian netminder leads the league in all the important goalie stats and with just a few games left on the slate, he's now the -165 favorite at Bovada to win the Vezina for the second time in his career. Bob has separated himself from the competition and I'm surprised this line isn't more chalky than it is. 

That said, it's possible that Officer Bobrovsky gets screwed by the voters but if that happens, he should pull out his badge and gun and take the NHL writers that voted against him to hockey prison.

Devan Dubnyk has regressed hard to the mean and left Braden Holtby in the wake as Bobrovsky's only obvious competitor for the award. Don't get me wrong, Holtby is great and all, but he's more a product of the system he plays in than Bobrovsky is. Washington gives up very few shots and Holtby rarely has to stand on his head.

Bob, on the other hand, is frequently called upon to execute his will at the back end and he's almost single-handedly kept the Blue Jackets safely in a divisional playoff spot. If he doesn't win this award, there's something very, very wrong.

2016-17 Vezina Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Sergei Bobrovsky (CLB)-165
Braden Holtby (WSH)+130
Devan Dubnyk (MIN)+600

Odds as of April 3, 2017 at Bovada

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No competition for NHL hardware is quite as intense as the Vezina Trophy race. Four guys are conceivably in the hunt for the Vezina and with the volatility of the position, we could see any of those players ultimately win the trophy. However, with the somewhat unpredictable nature of the position, it may be consistency that plays the biggest factor in the Vezina race.

No goaltender in the NHL has been as consistently good as Braden Holtby. The Washington Capitals netminder maintained a sub-1.90 goals-against average in December, January and February. Holtby’s combined 1.82 GAA, .933 save percentage and six shutouts in December through February are all better than each of his three competitors with listed odds. Keep one thing in mind – the Caps have 14 remaining games as of this writing with only three of them coming against teams with a scoring offense ranked inside the top 10.

As Holtby plays his best hockey of the year, Devan Dubnyk, his top adversary in the Vezina race, has been trending in the opposite direction. Through January and February, the Minnesota Wild goalie has a 2.52 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Those numbers are all great in a vacuum but represent Dubnyk’s worst two-month statistical stretch of the season.

The same can be said for fellow Vezina hopeful Sergei Bobrovsky, as his numbers have inflated in all areas since the 2017 calendar started. Carey Price has seen his numbers increase slightly from the start of the calendar year, but still lags behind his fellow competitors in the flashy stats.

2016-17 Vezina Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Devan Dubnyk (MIN)EVEN
Braden Holtby (WSH)+110
Sergei Bobrovsky (CLB)+325
Carey Price (MON)+1000

Odds as of March 3, 2017 at Bovada

Archived Articles

With much of the NHL hardware all but wrapped up, the Vezina Trophy race will probably be one of the most exciting down the stretch. There are still four guys who have an excellent shot to win the award and one who can climb back in the competition if his team decides to play some hockey in front of him.

The biggest shifts on the board at Bovada since our last update are Carey Price dropping from +200 to +700, Devan Dubnyk overtaking the spot as the favorite and Sergei Bobrovsky actually making the list at all at +350. The last update came before the Blue Jackets’ insane win streak and they were still considered to be bottom-dwellers.

My problem with officer Bobrovsky winning this award is that I still see a major regression coming from the Blue Jackets and his .908 save percentage in January is a serious red flag. Dubnyk regressed in the wild month of January as well but not nearly to the degree that Bob did. There's nothing to suggest that the boys in Minnesota are playing above their capabilities and if they keep it up, Duby will remain a strong candidate to win the coveted goalie award.

His main competition, in my mind, is Braden Holtby – the defending Vezina winner. The Capitals have cranked the intensity knob up to 11 and their tendy posted a .935 save percentage in a month that saw most of the other elite goaltenders go backward. Washington is probably the best team in the league; it should be no surprise that playing behind a good team is good for the goalie stats.

Price always has a chance in this race and with one of his patented shutout streaks, the Canadiens backstopper could vault right back into the lead pack. He's your best value bet at +700 as I think the Bruins are only going to get worse, knocking Tuukka Rask out of the competition entirely.

Here’s the complete list of Vezina Trophy odds:

2016-17 Vezina Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Devan Dubnyk (MIN)+125
Braden Holtby (WSH)+250
Sergei Bobrovsky (CLB)+350
Carey Price (MON)+700
Tuukka Rask (BOS)+1200

Odds as of February 1, 2017 at Bovada

Archived Articles

Goaltending can make or break an NHL team. No matter how well your team plays, if your goalie sucks in goals like a vacuum, it’s pretty tough to win. If you want to know the true importance of a solid netminder, just look at the Montreal Canadiens. Last season, they struggled to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference after losing Carey Price for the entire campaign. With him back fully healthy this year, they look like Stanley Cup contenders.

Bovada has updated the Vezina futures odds and the man I just mentioned leads the way at +200. Price being the favorite to win the award for best goaltender should surprise no one. The last time he played a full season, No. 31 won both the Vezina and the Trophy for being the most valuable player in the league. The Habs tendy missed the first three games of this season due to a bad flu but has been nothing short of miraculous since his return, going 6-0-0 with a .964 save percentage while allowing just 1.17 goals per game in his six starts. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to keep up this pace but if he does, Price will once again win the Vezina and Hart double.

Trailing close behind Price is Devan Dubnyk, a guy who has carved out a nice little career for himself after multiple teams passed on him and the Minnesota Wild finally acquired him for a third-round pick. It’s going to be no easy feat fending off Price in this race but if he keeps stopping every puck he sees, Duby will obviously remain in the conversation. The former 14th overall pick posted three shutouts in a row against the Stars, Sabres and Bruins back in October and now owns a shiny .948 save percentage to go along with his 1.51 goals-against average.

A goalie who gets very little respect from the media is Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils. He is one of the most consistent goalies in the league but his team does not score enough goals for him to get the wins he would require to get serious attention in the Vezina conversation. My point here is that +800 is not nearly enough value for a guy like Schneider. Last season, when he posted a .924 save percentage and a 2.15 goals-against average in 52 starts, he received just 10 total Vezina votes.

The value here lies in the defending winner ,Braden Holtby. The Caps’ No. 1 ran away with the award last season and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in the running once again this year. He’s an absolute steal at +800.

Click here for Calder Trophy odds.

Click here for Hart Trophy odds.

Click here for Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy odds.

Click here for Norris Trophy odds.

Here’s the complete list of Vezina Trophy odds:

2016-17 Vezina Trophy Winner
PlayerOdds
Carey Price (MON)+200
Devan Dubnyk (MIN)+450
Braden Holtby (WSH)+800
Cory Schneider (NJ)+800
Cam Talbot (EDM)+800
Tuukka Rask (BOS)+950
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)+1200
Corey Crawford (CHI)+1200
Martin Jones (SJ)+1800
Roberto Luongo (FLA)+1800

Odds as of November 3 at Bovada

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