For the first time in 17 years, Marc-Andre Fleury is in the running for the best goalie in the NHL.
The Golden Knights’ goaltender is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, the award given to the best goalie in the league. Fleury is joined by Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer and 2019 winner Andrei Vasilevskiy from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It’s the first time Fleury has been named a finalist for the award. The Vezina is voted on by all 31 general managers. The winners of the NHL Awards will be unveiled during the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Stanley Cup Final, with dates still to be determined.
Fleury was the workhorse in the Golden Knights’ crease during this COVID-stricken 56-game regular season. Fleury went 26-10-0 with a .928 save percentage and a goals-against average of 1.98. Grubauer and Fleury were the only goalies to have a GAA under 2.00 by making at least 35 starts; Carolina’s Alex Nedeljkovic made 23 starts during his rookie season. Fleury’s .928 percentage trailed only New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov (.929) among those who made 30 starts.
Fleury and teammate Robin Lehner won the Jennings Trophy this season, given to the goalie(s) who allowed the fewest goals during the season. While Lehner was solid during the regular season (13-4-2, 2.29 GAA, .913 SV%), it was the run Fleury had while Lehner was out with a concussion that forced him into the Vezina conversation.
The 36-year-old started 16 of 17 games from Feb. 11 - March 17, going 11-5-0 while allowing 30 total goals and a .936 save percentage. Fleury had three shutouts in that span, including two against the Avalanche.
In the midst of one of his best statistical seasons, Fleury moved up to third all-time in wins at 492. Only Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691) have more victories.
Fleury closed the regular season on a personal nine-game winning streak, surpassing Ed Belfour (484) and Roberto Luongo (489) during that stretch.
This will more than likely not be the only time a Golden Knights player is in the running for an award. The Selke Trophy finalists will be announced Sunday, with the likelihood that Mark Stone will be one of the three — and a heavy favorite — for the second time in three seasons. Stone could be a Hart Trophy candidate, as well. Those finalists will be announced June 10.