Trophy Tracker: Shesterkin, Saros early favorites for Vezina

To mark the start of the 2022-23 regular season, is running its first installment of the Trophy Tracker series. Today, we look at the race for the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded annually to the goaltender voted the best in the League by NHL general managers.

Igor Shesterkin he has a chance to do something no NHL goaltender has done in 15 years.

However, winning the Vezina Trophy for the second straight season is not the award the New York Rangers star is focused on.

“All I want right now is the Stanley Cup with the Rangers,” Shesterkin said. “If I have a chance to get another Vezina, that’ll be fine, but our goal is the Stanley Cup and it doesn’t matter what happens to get there.”

The Rangers are in contention to win the Cup for the first time since 1994, in part because of Ssterkin, who is’s preseason favorite to win the Vezina.

“It’s great to have this guy in the pipeline and we expect the same type of goalie from him this year,” Rangers manager Gerard Gallant said.

The last time a goaltender was voted the Vezina Trophy winner in back-to-back seasons was Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils in 2007 and 2008. He also won it in back-to-back seasons in 2003 and 2004

Shesterkin received 63 points, including eight first-place votes, from’s 15-member panel. Andrei Vasilevsky of the Tampa Bay Lightning was second with 44 points (two first-place votes), followed by Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators with 32 (two first-place votes); Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks, Jake Ettinger of the Dallas Stars and Ilya Sorokin of New York residents received one first-place vote each.

Last season, Shesterkin was 36-13-4, led the NHL with a 2.07 goals-against average (minimum 30 games) and his .935 save percentage was the best among goaltenders who played at least 30 games in a season from 2011-12. He also had six shutouts and allowed two goals or fewer in 32 of his 52 starts.

Along with the Vezina win, Shesterkin finished third in voting for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player in the regular season. He was the first goalkeeper to be a finalist for this award since then Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2017.

“If you ask anyone in ours [dressing] room, he’s been our backbone all year,” the Rangers defenseman said Jacob Trump he said last season. “Special season, and he deserves all the accolades coming his way.”

Still, Shesterkin wants to show that what he accomplished last season, his second as a Rangers starter, wasn’t a one-off.

“What happened last season remains last season,” he said. “Right now, I have to show everyone that my last season is not a mistake. I just want to play better and better.”

Total votes (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis): Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers, 63 points (8 first-place votes). Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, 44 (2); Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators, 32 (2); Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames, 25; Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks, 15 (1); Frederick Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes, 15; Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars, 10 (1); Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida Panthers, 2; Tristan JarryPittsburgh Penguins, 2; Alexander GeorgievColorado Avalanche, 1; Darcy CooberWashington Capitals, 1. senior writer Dan Rosen and staff writer David Satriano contributed to this report

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