Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros may not have been one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, but the final voting results show he just narrowly missed the cut.
With 127 points and 22 first-place votes, Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark won the award — the first of his career — with Ilya Sorokin of New York Islanders finishing in second place with 70 points and three first-place votes, followed by Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck taking third place with 32 points and two first-place votes.
Saros also received two first-place votes and he finished just six points back of Hellebuyck in the final voting, further cementing Nick Kieser’s point in his May 11 column that the league’s GMs had some explaining to do after Saros was snubbed as a Vezina finalist.
However, the 28-year-old Finn admitted at the end of the season that he didn’t expect to be in consideration considering how great of a year Ullmark had.
“I think Ullmark is going to for sure win this year with all those numbers, but I’m happy hearing from other guys (that they think I should be a finalist),” Saros said during locker cleanout day. “It means a lot to me.”
In addition to the Vezina voting, Saros also finished fourth in voting for the NHL’s year-end All-Star Team with 129 points and six first-place votes — two more than Hellebuyck, who finished third.
Among goalies to play in 50 or more games this season, Saros ranked first in shots (2,099), saves (1,928), goals-saved above expected (46.7) and stolen wins (14), third in save percentage (.919) and most starts with a save percentage of .900 or better (41), sixth in wins (33), eighth in goals-against average (2.69).
Saros has been one of the NHL’s top goalies since becoming the Predators primary starter during the 2019-20 season. Over that four-year span, Saros ranks third in wins (109), shots faced (6,421), saves (5,901) and starts with a .900 save percentage or better (132), fourth in save percentage (.919), seventh in shutouts (13) and 10th in goals-against average (2.61) among goalies with 125 or more games played.
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(Photo of Juuse Saros via Michael Gallagher/Nashville Hockey Now)