Despite Rocky Start, Oddsmakers Favor Vasilevskiy for Vezina Trophy

Andrei Arlovski NHL Background Vezina Trophy

  • Tampa Bay’s Vasilevskiy still Vezina Trophy favorite
  • Online sportsbooks still like Lightning despite rough start
  • Winnipeg’s Hellebuyck slightly in second in Vezina futures

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning was going to have a period of growth on the learning curve after losing depth in players like Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow, and Yanni Gourde, among other, to free agency.

Early in the season
This has played negatively with the defense in front of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, as opponents have been able to get the puck deep into the interior. Passing has become easier on the Tampa Bay end of the ice, which puts him at a disadvantage because he has to be out of position in some places to stop shots.

Oddsmakers stand firm on Vasilevskiy’s odds to win the Vezina Trophy as Bovada posts him as the leader at (+350) odds which have moved forward since he was seen at (+380) just before the season began.

Vasilevskiy’s GAA is currently at 2.53 with a save percentage of 91.1 through seven games. This comes on the heels of a season where Marc-Andre Fleury, then of the Vegas Golden Knights, surprisingly edged out Vasilevskiy for the award despite the Russian netminder’s heroics in goal throughout the second Lightning Stanley Cup Championship in a row.

He did win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the NHL’s MVP of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

A year ago:
Vasilevskiy, Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck, and Boston goalie Tukka Rask all started at (+500) to win the award before Andre-Fleury, who began at (+1500), went on to lead Vegas into another deep playoffs run to the NHL semis before the Golden Knights were dismissed in the NHL semifinals by the upstart Montreal Canadiens.

The Lightning have won back-to-back games for the first time this season over Pittsburgh and Arizona as he has combined to stop 52 of 54 shots in those two games, which were coincidentally decided by 5-1 decisions. According to Bovada, Tampa Bay can be found at (+130) to win the Atlantic Division while posting at (+400) and (+425) in some places.

Please Note:
Tampa Bay is still favored to win the Eastern Conference as well with (+350) as the general consensus is that the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins are the closest suitors in posting (+600) odds. The Lightning still trails the Avalanche, according to oddsmakers, to win the Stanley Cup as Colorado is generally at (+450) while the Lightning find their way at (+500). Several sportsbooks have Tampa Bay listed at (+1000) with the Avalanche in the (+575).

Colorado defeated the Lightning in Tampa, 4-3, in a shootout on Oct. 23.

Pressing the Issue

Hellebuyck has staked the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2-2 start and the second-best record in the Central Division and the fifth-best in the Western Conference.

He has the second-best odds to win the Vezina at (+800) as he has a 3-2-2 ledger although his numbers have skyrocketed to 3.42 GAA with a save percentage of 89.9 percent. Hellebuyck posted (+1000) odds at the beginning of the season as the Jets are just (+1600) to win the Central Division with the same (+1600) generally to win the Western Conference Winnipeg is at (+4000) long shots to win the Stanley Cup.

Chicago’s Marc Andre-Fleury is still in the mix as he and Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper post at (+1000) to take the Vezina while the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin and Robin Lehner tie at (+1200).

Log Jam Behind Vasy, Hellebuyck

Amazingly, Andre-Fleury still has odds that high as the troubled Blackhawks organization languishes at the bottom of the Western Conference with an 0-7-2 record.

He has a paltry 4.63 GAA with just an 87.2 saves percentage as he is 0-5-0.

Sportsbooks post Kuemper even with Andre-Fleury as the Avalanche got off to just a 1-3-0 start as they have adjusted back to 4-4-0. Kuemper some in at 4-3-0, and he has a 2.87 GAA with a 90.4 saves percentage.

Keumper came over in the off-season when Philip Grubauer signed with the Seattle Kraken. Colorado is still a slight favorite to win the Western Conference as the Avalanche post (+200) odds while the Vegas Golden Knights net (+300) in most places but also show (+450).

Oddsmakers at the Bovada sportsbook say that the Avalanche is an overwhelming favorite to win the Central Division with odds at (-220) while the closest team is Minnesota at (+550), but they can also be found at (+475).

As Shesterkin was at (+2000) at the beginning of the season:
He has moved up to that (+1200) number as he is 4-1-1 in the Rangers’ 5-2-1 start. He is also posting a solid 1.81 GAA, and a 94.4 save percentage so far in his second full season in goal in New York.

The Rangers opened the season at (+2500) to win the Stanley Cup, but have moved forward to (+1800) and are currently getting the third-best odds to win the Atlantic Division. New York nets (+550) with the New York Islanders (+325) and Carolina Hurricanes (+450) on top. The Isles and the Canes are flip-flopped with some oddsmakers as Carolina leads at (+300) to the Islanders’ (+350).

Lehner is 3-4-0 for Vegas, who sits at 4-4-0 with a 3.00 GAA and a 91.0 percent save percentage.

The Golden Knights carry (-170) odds to win the Pacific Division while Edmonton is next at (+400). The Oilers actually pick up favorite odds with some sportsbooks at (-125) with Vegas at (+200). The Golden Knights opened at (+550) to win the Stanley Cup, but are now at (+1000) on most odds boards.

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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