After finishing as a Vezina Trophy runner-up in 2017-18, Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck wins the 2019-20 award for the first time as the undisputed top goalie as announced by the National Hockey League ahead of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The Michigan-born netminder earned himself a spot in the top three alongside Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for how he single-handedly dragged the Jets along with him in a year in which the blueline in front of him was decimated.
Here is what Hellebuyck’s teammates had to say about him back before it was announced Hellebuyck was a finalist:
Blake Wheeler – “He had an outstanding season. We’re not sitting here talking to you guys without the work that he did this year.”
Josh Morrissey – “He’s up for the Vezina. He’s got my vote.”
Luca Sbisa – “You know if you make a mistake or you’re out of position, you probably have the best goalie in the world to bail you out.”
Neal Pionk – “Maybe I am a little biased but I think he wins the Vezina no doubt.”
Mathieu Perreault – “We feel we have the best goalie in the league”.
Nathan Beaulieu – “Obviously Bucky’s going to be a finalist. He should take it home with the body of work this year.”
He finished this season 31-21-5 with a 2.57 GAA and a 0.922 save %. According to Hockey Reference his GSAA (goals saved above average/expectation) was 22.40 which was second to Vezina finalist Tuukka Rask who played 17 fewer games this season.
He is the first goalie to win a Vezina in the history of pro hockey in Winnipeg. No Jets 1.0 goalie ever did it from 1979–1996 and no Atlanta Thrashers goalie ever did it from 1999 to 2011.
The award notification from legendary NHL goalie and hall of famer Grant Fuhr who spoke to Hellebuyck after making the announcement: