One month into the 2023-24 NHL season, the race for the Vezina Trophy is starting to heat up. Last season’s winner, Linus Ullmark, will undoubtedly warrant consideration, given his remarkable start.
So far in 2023-24, Ullmark has a 4-1-1 record, a 0.926 save percentage, and a 2.30 GAA. While these are sound numbers, they are not up to par with a trio of front-runners whose respective performances have been the class of the league.
If Ullmark wants to reclaim the Vezina Trophy he is currently defending, there are quite a few goaltenders he must outplay between now and April. And one of the top three netminders who could take the trophy from him hits home, since they have played a shade better during the season’s early stages.
3. Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins
Jeremy Swayman continues to find himself in a timeshare with Linus Ullmark, but so far, one can argue he’s been the better of the two goaltenders, In six starts this season, Swayman is 6-0-0, and he has allowed just nine goals this season in 189 shots on net.
This gives Swayman an outrageous 0.952 save percentage, a goals allowed average (GAA) of 1.49, one shutout, and a 1.000 quality starts percentage (QS%). He’s posting an amazing 9.11 goals saved above average (GSAA), which ranks second in the NHL behind only Thatcher Demko of the Vancouver Canucks.
If there is one downside to Swayman, it’s that one can argue the Boston Bruins ability to play sound defense consistently has been a huge help. But that doesn’t erase Swayman’s efficacy so far in 2023-24, and if he keeps up his stellar play in the crease, he will be a Vezina finalist at the end of the season.