- One sportsbook’s latest future books on the 2019-20 Vezina Trophy includes just six goalies
- Toronto’s Freddy Andersen and reigning Vezina holder Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tampa Bay aren’t given odds
- Jordan Binnington of the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues is the +250 favorite
Sportsdbooks have reduced the goalie contenders for the Vezina Trophy down to a short list, which seems a very odd decision on the odds, considering the NHL season is barely past the halfway mark.
One sportsbook provides betting lines on just six netminders in its latest 2020 Vezina Trophy odds. Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues is the +250 favorite.
By contrast, another sportsbook still offers odds on 15 players in its 2019-20 Hart Trophy future book.
2019-20 Vezina Trophy Odds
|Jordan Binnington (Blues)||+250|
|Connor Hellebuyck (Jets)||+300|
|Ben Bishop (Stars)||+400|
|Tuukka Rask (Bruins)||+700|
|Marc-Andre Fleury (Golden Knights)||+800|
|Semyon Varlamov (Islanders)||+2500|
Odds taken Jan. 4th.
Several elite goalies were dropped off. Among those is John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks, who was the early-season Vezina favorite. As well, Andrei Vasilevskiy, the reigning Vezina holder, isn’t on the list.
In fact, none of the past five Vezina winners made the grade. Odds also aren’t offered on Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators (2018), Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers (2017), Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals (2016) or Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens (2015).
Binnington a Cautionary Tale
There’s logic to the line on Binnington. He plays for the defending Stanley Cup champions, after all. The goalie was a serious Conn Smythe Trophy contender in last spring’s playoffs.
He’s second in the NHL with 19 wins. But Binnington is also 16th among NHL goalies in save percentage (.916) and 13th in goals-against average (2.55).
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 17, 2019
He’s also a cautionary tale.
A year ago, no one outside of hardcore hockey followers even knew who Binnington was. He was a career minor leaguer called up to the NHL on Dec. 10 when the Blues were floundering. In a half season, he played his way into the Calder Trophy reckoning as the league’s top rookie.
The point being, it seems awfully early to be eliminating so many goalies from contention.
What About These Goalies?
Some goalies enjoying big seasons are already being assigned also-ran status in the Vezina odds.
Freddy Andersen of the Toronto Maple Leafs has posted an NHL-leading 21 wins. He’s answered the bell 33 times, one start behind NHL leader Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets. And he’s made more saves (1,049) than any NHL goaltender.
1st in wins
1st in SA
1st in S
— AustonMatthewsContract (@2fronttweets) January 3, 2020
Might Tristan Jarry of the Pittsburgh Penguins be this season’s version of Binnington? Although he’s played just 19 games, Jarry leads NHL goalies in save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (1.94). His three shutouts give Jarry a share of league lead in that department.
Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes, with a 2.17 GAA, 15 wins and a .924 percentage, also deserves some Vezina love.
Are Top Goalies the Top Guys?
To this point, both Binnington and Hellebuyck, the second betting choice at +300, are making strong Vezina cases for themselves.
Hellebuyck, with a .919 save percentage and 2.70 GAA isn’t among the top 10 in traditional stats. But according to NaturalStatTrick.com, he’s faced more high-danger scoring chances that any NHL netminder (218). He’s also third in wins (18) and second in saves (837).
17 NHL goaltenders have started at least 28 games this season.
Of those 17 most frequent starters, here are the top-3 by save percentage:
1. Ben Bishop (28 GP, .926)
2. Connor Hellebuyck (34 GP, .919)
3. Jacob Markstrom (28 GP, .917)
— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) January 3, 2020
It seems way too early to be shortening the Vezina list so dramatically. It’s entirely possible that Binnington just keeps on rolling and wins the award.
It’s wise to remember where the Blues were at this point last season – at the bottom of the NHL.
There’s still a lot of hockey to be played. It’s best to hang on to that Vezina future book bet for a bit yet.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.