All eyes have shifted to Carey Worth within the Stanley Cup playoffs, however there’s one other man who deserves simply as a lot consideration – or possibly much more.
Worth has been unimaginable for Montreal – an enormous cause why they’ve made the unbelievable run to the ultimate in opposition to all odds. He undoubtedly deserves the eye he is receiving. But it surely’s virtually like Andrei Vasilevskiy has been utterly forgotten about not directly.
Vasilevskiy is worked up in regards to the probability to face off in opposition to Montreal’s saving grace, however he is a bit extra centered on the duty forward.
“That is the sport of hockey, you have to beat the man on the opposite aspect, you have to be higher than him,” the Tampa Bay Lightning goalie mentioned throughout Stanley Cup Ultimate media day Sunday. “Massive problem, and it will be attention-grabbing for the followers, for the consultants, for everyone.”
Worth’s worth to the Canadiens is plain. If the Habs win the Cup, Worth is the straightforward decide for the Conn Smythe Trophy. There’s sufficient competitors in Tampa to push Vasilevskiy down the pecking order shall the Lightning win, however that should not diminish his contributions to this staff.
Amongst goalies with no less than 10 video games performed, Vasilevskiy’s .939 save share and 4.85 targets saved above common are each tops within the playoffs at 5-on-5. He is the one goaltender with no less than 5 video games performed to have a high-danger save share higher than .890 (.896) and his 4 shutouts are greater than double what the opposite 23 goalies to play within the playoffs has been capable of muster (seven).
A fair higher truth is his numbers are higher than they had been when Tampa gained a 12 months in the past (.931 SP, 3.06 GSAA). Throughout the common season, Vasilevskiy’s wins-above-replacement variety of 4.3, per Evolving-Hockey, is nice for third within the NHL this season, simply behind Marc-Andre Fleury (5.0) and Connor Hellebuyck (4.8). When Vasilevskiy gained his first Vezina final 12 months, his WAR was simply 2.1 – good for twenty fourth amongst goalies with no less than 25 video games performed.
This is not about making a case for Vasilevskiy to win the Vezina. What it’s is to additional present that one other unimaginable playoff run solely provides to the legend that’s Vasilevskiy’s NHL profession, one which has put him among the many elite of the elite over the previous 20 years. Would he earn extra recognition if he did not play on a powerhouse? Completely. However do not low cost Vasilevskiy’s value on one of many league’s prime outfits.
“A part of our success has been attempting to not depend on Vasilevskiy,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “I feel there are elements of years previous the place it was like we want the goalie or we’re in hassle. In the long run, if you wish to win, you want everyone.
“In saying that, we all know what now we have in our goaltender. We have watched him develop into the winner he’s, the competitor he’s. You aren’t getting to this degree until you’ve got bought nice goaltending, therefore why each goalies’ statistics are the identical, why each groups are nonetheless enjoying. Largely, it is as a result of the goalies have been nice.”
Vasilevskiy is simply 26. In his profession, he has gained gold with Russia on the World Championship in 2014, took the highest goaltender award three years later, performed in three NHL all-star video games and, in fact, gained a Vezina and a Stanley Cup and was named to the NHL’s first all-star staff in 2019. In contrast to most elite NHL goaltenders, he hasn’t fallen right into a rut in his profession but. Vasilevskiy has led the league in wins the previous 4 years and solely appears to get higher each season.
And whereas he has performed for a contender for practically everything of his profession, that does not imply he hasn’t been invaluable. Common goalies can have common stats on a poor staff. A fantastic goalie with nice stats – as we have seen with Vasilevkisy – will discover a approach to steal video games most others will not. That is what helps make a goaltender stand out from the group.
“He is the most effective goalie on the earth, we expect, and he offers us an opportunity to win each evening,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos mentioned. “If you solely have to attain one purpose in a Sport 7, that claims lots. He is the spine.”
Regardless that the Lightning are undoubtedly the odds-on favourite to win the Stanley Cup, that is removed from a given, particularly with who’s in web on the different finish of the ice. If Vasilevskiy’s play can cancel out Worth’s contribution, the Lightning shall be in a great place with the likes of Brayden Level, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, amongst others, inflicting chaos up entrance. If anybody can match Worth’s excellent play, it is the man chasing his second prime goaltender award.
Not that he wants any additional affirmation of his worth, however one other Stanley Cup would assist to additional the narrative that he is the most effective goaltenders of his time.