Not so fun fact, no Canucks goaltender has ever won the Vezina Trophy. Yes, you read that right. Canucks legend Roberto Luongo finished top five in Vezina voting three times as a Canuck, Kirk McLean was voted top five twice, Jacob Markstrom was voted top five once, and Dan Cloutier never even made it to the top ten, but Thatcher Demko has the reigns and could very well break that Vezinaless streak in Vancouver.
Yes the season is young, yes I may be getting ahead of myself, but common if you have watched Demko this season at all you could tell he is the one keeping the Canucks in games. After the first month of the season, Demko seems to be out to prove himself. Prove himself to whom? The fans who said Vancouver should have kept Markstrom, perhaps, or maybe the USA hockey management. Either way, Demko is looking good to start the season.
Through October Demko was third amongst NHL goaltenders in shots faced with 218 against, three starts into November he now has 317 shots against, which is almost 32 shots against per game. Currently, Demko is third in the league for shots against as well as saves made. Although Demko is third in saves made he is fifth in goals surrendered with 26 but 11 of those 26 goals have come on the Canucks atrocious penalty kill.
Although Demko’s current record is not strong at 5-4-1 the offence has failed to score more than two goals in each of his losses. His current .918 save percentage and 2.59 goals-against average are strong but not in the top five just yet. He is also yet to record a shutout this season and only has one in his young career but judging by the way he has stood on his head thus far he will have a few by season’s end.
How The Compition Stacks up
Entering the season the favourites to win the Vezina were the usual suspects Andrei Vasilevskiy, Marc-Andre Fleury, Philipp Grubauer, and Connor Hellebuyck. Early on some others have thrown their hat in the race, such as Jacob Markstrom, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Igor Shesterkin just to name a few. How does Demko stack up against some of the league’s best?
Currently, Bobrovsky and Markstrom rank in the top of three of save percentage and goals-against average, while Markstrom also leads the league in shutouts. Shesterkin ranks first in shots against as well as saves and seventh in save percentage, but he plays on the New York Rangers. Things could get tough for these three goaltenders who are off to a hot start. Shesterkin is playing behind a young Rangers team who started hot but had a rough go against the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers. While Bobrovsky has a young Spencer Knight waiting in his shadows to snatch up the starting spot in Florida. While as Canucks fans know Markstrom can become shaky quickly.
As for the preseason Vezina favourites, ouch. Hellebuyck’s numbers are similar to Demko’s facing 237 shots while saving 213, his goals-against average is 3.42 and his saver percentage is .899. Grubauer has a tough go in Seattle trying to find chemistry with his new team and has posted a 2.97 goals-against average, as well as a .886, save percentage. Vasilevskiy, well he’s having a normal Vasilevskiy season with a percentage of .919 and a goals-against-average of 2.40.
As for the reigning Vezina winner. Fleury is having a rough season in Chicago. Starting the season 1-7-0 with a save percentage of .881 and a goals-against-average of 4.11. Things have been rough for Fluery and the Blackhawks on and off the ice this year and if he does not do a full 180 he won’t find himself back in the Vezina conversation for a while.
Walking Highlight Reel
Let’s just take a moment had re-live some of Demko’s glorious highlights thus far.
That's it, that's the entire tweet! pic.twitter.com/dl3f5Cgnps
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) November 3, 2021
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) November 2, 2021
Just Demko things https://t.co/wVVaITbvEy
— Conner Dempster 🤷🏻♂️ (@cdemp45) November 8, 2021
Can Demko Win The Vezina?
The odds are stacked against Demko for sure, but anything is possible. As one of the Canucks lone bright spots during their rough starts Demko has shown promise, at 25 years of age (26 on December 8th) the future is bright for the Canucks and their future Vezina winning goaltender Thatcher Demko.
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