Puck Stoppers: The Best Goalies of the NHL 2023-24 Season

The Best Goalies of the NHL 2023-24 Season image

📖 Published on: March 5th, 2024

✍️ Updated: March 11th, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read

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Battling on the ice is never an easy feat, and you can be sure that there will be a lot of players who will try their best to come up with big strides of scoring the goal. But let us not forget to give credit to those players who also give their best in putting up a defensive performance and preventing attacking players from scoring at the goal.

 

What is the Importance of Goalies in the NHL?

 

Goaltenders, more known as goalies, are the only players who stand between the puck and the goal when it is fired away. They are usually situated in front of the net, more known as goal crease and try to find ways to cut down the angle of shots to prevent a point from being scored. With high-powered shots common in the NHL and other ice hockey leagues, the goalies are tasked to wear special equipment compared to other players on the ice so that they are protected from the direct impact of the hockey puck.

 

Over the years, as the game innovated, the importance of the goalie has been stressed in every single game. Their presence alone in the crease gives assurance to the players that their goal is not left wide open. There are also scenarios when a one-on-one occurs between goalies and opposing players, especially in breakaways and shootouts. This tests the mettle of the goalies and how skilled they are at preventing the puck from being scored.

 

Vezina Trophy image

In recognition of their efforts on the defensive end, the Vezina Trophy is awarded to the best goalie by the end of an NHL season. The trophy was named after Georges Vezina, who was a legendary goalie for the Montreal Canadiens back in the 1920s. He collapsed in a game back in 1925 before being diagnosed with tuberculosis, to which he succumbed a year after that. Since then, the NHL created the trophy and made it a standard to be awarded to the best goalie by the end of the season, making it an equivalent of “MVP” among goaltenders.

 

Who are the Best Goalies for the 2023-24 Season?

 

The 2023-24 season has been really quite fun to watch with all these defensive performances from the top goalies in the league, and no one can deny that it just gets more fiery to look out for as teams try to gather their wits and come up with a massive push to the playoffs this April. This means that goalies have a chance to prove their case even more, which should play a huge role in their team’s chances towards the end of the season as well.

 

With that said, let’s talk about the best goalies of the season who could be in for the Vezina Trophy by the end of the campaign.

 

Connor Hellebuyck

 

By February, Connor Hellebuyck is already the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy this year thanks to his impressive defensive performances so far. The Winnipeg Jets have allowed the least goals in the Western Conference thanks to Hellebuyck’s defensive prowess, and they also remain one of the hot picks to win the Stanley Cup by the end of the season. So far, the Jets’ goalie is averaging 2.29 GAA and .922 SV%. Those are staggering numbers of defensive mastery as he continues to put up more than 30 saves night in and night out. This further cements his case for the Vezina Trophy, especially as the Jets continue to be the defensive barrier of the league.

Connor Hellebuyck image

 

Thatcher Demko

 

Thatcher Demko image

The Vancouver Canucks are lucky enough to have Thatcher Demko in their lineup, and it does seem that he still has a long way to go to increase his defensive intensity if he is going to be the leading favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as well. So far, the Canucks have increased in wins this season, and it is thanks to the five shutouts that Demko has pulled off this year alone, which is impressive to go along with his 2.52 GAA and .915 SV%. We have also seen Demko increase his production in saves, deflecting as many as 40 shots in a game alone, which surely shows how much he has improved as a goalie who is quick to find the best position whenever he gets to defend his net.

 

Sergei Bobrovsky

 

Of course, the best team in the league certainly can’t sit at the top of the standings without being a top-ranked defensive team as well. This is why Sergei Bobrovsky deserves a lot of credit for his impressive game when it matters most. This season, the Florida Panthers have the best record in the NHL, and one of the best goalies in the league as well. Bobrovsky is currently gunning with a 2.29 GAA and .918 SV%, leading the Panthers to a total of 31 wins as of the time of writing. It goes without saying that Bobrovsky can jump high to the top of the Vezina Trophy race this season if the Panthers to make a rapid pace to the best record of the NHL by the end of the season, which is highly likely and the reason why they are seen as favorites to win the Stanley Cup as well.

Sergei Bobrovsky image

 

Jeremy Swayman

 

Jeremy Swayman image

The Boston Bruins are another fun team to watch in the season, and there is no denying that Jeremy Swayman is also making a massive impact in his games for the team this time. From coming up with three shutouts to aid the Bruins this season all the way to putting up consistent numbers of 2.49 GAA and .921 SV%, Swayman has certainly built up his case despite having to share minutes with Linus Ullmark, who still remains a massive goalie in his own right. His 20 win-share is also a promising mark of how he can continue to perform at a high level come playoff time. However, he needs to bring a string of wins in Boston’s favor if he is going to improve his case for the Vezina Trophy.

 

Adin Hill

 

As the Vegas Golden Knights continue to build up their impressive pace heading into the playoffs, it seems that Adin Hill has a lot of catching up to do in his case for the Vezina Trophy this season. With just 15 wins in his slate as the starting goalie so far, Hill has still managed to tally two shutouts while also averaging 2.49 GAA and a strong .920 SV%. Still, Hill needs to cut out the losses for the Golden Knights if they are going to be ready to defend their title as well. Averaging around 30 saves per game is going to make him a wildcard pick for the trophy, but it is going to be by a long stretch by the end of the season.

Adin Hill image

 

What to Expect in the Vezina Trophy Race for the 2023-24 Season?

 

The Vezina Trophy race continues to heat up, and it is certainly far from over. No one can be certain that Hellebuyck will be the runaway winner by the end of the season. There is still a chance for Demko and Bobrovsky to catch up to the mix, and it goes without saying that Swayman and Hill – depending on how their teams will perform by the closing stretch of the season – will surely find their way back to make this race even closer and intense.

 

This is why you should definitely stay tuned for the latest news on the NHL and the rest of the sports world. Lucky for you, GambleSpot takes pride in delivering the best blogs, predictions, betting tips, and much more content for the NHL and the rest of the sports world. Make sure to take a read on our blogs section today!

 

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