Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had one of the best seasons of his career in the 2015-16 campaign, but that wasn’t enough to earn him a nomination for the Vezina Trophy.
The award, given to the league’s best goaltender by the 30 NHL general managers, will be handed out in Las Vegas this summer, but Crawford will not be the recipient. Instead, Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Ben Bishop, Los Angeles Kings star Jonathan Quick, and Washington Capitals standout Braden Holtby will be the three nominees that will have a shot at taking home the hardware.
Crawford ended the season with a 35-18-5 record, a .924 save percentage, and a career-high seven shutouts for the Hawks. Unfortunately for the goaltender, a late season injury robbed him of several starts, and potentially contributed to his being snubbed for award consideration.
A quick look at the save percentages of the three nominees reveal just how annoyed Crawford supporters should be. Bishop did finish in second in the league in the category, with a .926 percentage, and Holtby finished just behind Crawford at .922 on the season. Quick ended up finishing 19th among 41 qualifying goaltenders in the category, stopping .918 of the shots that he faced.
Realistically, even if Crawford had been nominated, the odds are slim that he would have won. Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s NHL record for wins in a season, racking up 48 victories and a 2.20 goals against average for the President’s Trophy winning Capitals. He is considered the runaway favorite to win the award in Vegas, with only Bishop holding any conceivable chance of stopping him from doing so.
Crawford has finished in the top-10 in Vezina voting on two occasions, finishing eighth in the 2012-13 season and sixth in 2014-15.