NHL Betting: Ranking the 5 Early Vezina Trophy Favorites

min read
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) protects his net during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils Friday, March 4, 2022, in New York.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Gary Pearson @newagejourno Aug 10, 2022, 1:16 PM
  • Two of the five favorites have previously won the Vezina Trophy.
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy is the only favorite who has won the Vezina and Conn Smythe.
  • Jake Oettinger and Ilya Sorokin are entering their third NHL season.

NHL odds for the 2022-23 Vezina Trophy candidates are fresh off the press, and each of the five favorites have compelling reasons to believe they can win the acclaimed trophy. 

According to NHL betting odds, Jake Oettinger (+1800), Juuse Saros (+900), Ilya Sorokin (+800), Andrei Vasilevskiy (+550), and Igor Shesterkin (+250) are the favorites to win the 2022-23 Vezina Trophy. 

Only two of the five , Vasilevskiy and Shesterkin, are former winners, with the latter securing last season’s Vezina. The NHL hasn’t seen a back-to-back Vezina Trophy winner since 2007 and 2008 when Martin Brodeur did the double.  

Vasilevskiy is the only netminder on the exclusive list who has won the Vezina and the Conn Smythe. 

Here’s a look at the five Vezina Trophy favorites’ respective chances of being named the world’s best goaltender.  

5. Jake Oettinger (+1800)

The Stars’ netminder showcased his skills against the Flames in the first round of the 2021-22 playoffs. The 23-year-old put on a clinic, making the most scrutinized position look like baby’s play. 

He played 48 regular-season games before his maiden playoff hockey foray. You wouldn’t know it was his first taste of playoff action by the way he effortlessly stymied one of the league’s most prolific offenses. 

Oettinger finished the seven-game series against Calgary with a 1.81 goals-against average (GAA) and a .956 save percentage, stats that would gratify a Vezina winner. The Stars  rewarded Oettinger’s playoff heroics by handing him the starting role. The 2022-23 campaign will mark his first in the NHL as a No. 1 netminder. 

Expecting a first-year starter to compete for the Vezina Trophy would be aspirational, even outlandish, under ordinary circumstances. However, Oettinger is capable of consistently playing at an elite level. He is composed beyond his years and has an uncanny ability to find the puck, making otherworldly saves look ordinary.    

At +1800, Oettinger offers exquisite value. While Oettinger should win a Vezina at some point in his career, it probably won’t happen for another two or three seasons. 

4. Juuse Saros (+900)

A finalist for the 2021-22 Vezina Trophy, Juuse Saros is back among the favorites for the 2022-23 campaign. The 27-year-old netminder was the main reason Nashville qualified for the 2021-22 playoffs. The Preds were forced to play without their MVP against the Avs after Saros suffered a season-ending ankle injury, all but guaranteeing a swift first-round exit. 

Saros finished the 2021-22 campaign with a 38-25-3 record, a 2.64 GAA, a .918 save percentage, and four shutouts. He also had the league’s sixth-best goals saved above expected (20.7). He started 67 games last season, 27 more than his previous high. 

Entering his eighth NHL campaign, 2022-23 will mark just the second time Saros is expected to carry the bulk of the workload. If he can show further improvement after a stellar 2021-22 season, Saros has every chance of claiming his first Vezina. 

However, proceed carefully.. There’s a good chance he hit his ceiling last season. If that’s the case, Saros is the least likely of the five to win the extolled honor. 

3. Ilya Sorokin (+800)

Like Oettinger, the 2022-23 campaign will mark Ilya Sorokin’s third in the NHL. In 52 games last season, he had a 2.40 GAA, a .925 save percentage, and seven shutouts. His GAA was fourth best, while he had the second-best save percentage and second-most shutouts. 

Sorokin is 27 years old and perfectly positioned to improve on last season’s numbers despite his relative NHL inexperience. Sorokin, along with Oettinger, is the most unheralded and unassuming name of the five favorites. This won’t be the case for too much longer if he continues his upward trajectory. 

The Islanders allowed the seventh-fewest goals last season and are a sound defensive team even without Sorokin’s stabilizing presence between the pipes. That bodes well for Sorokin, who should ascend to loftier heights in the coming seasons. 

Look for Sorokin to be named as one of the three 2022-23 Vezina finalists. 

2. Andrei Vasilevskiy (+550)

The 2019 Vezina and 2021 Conn Smythe winner is only 28 years old. That’s staggering considering how much he’s already accomplished. Expect to see Vasilevskiy’s name among the Vezina favorites for years to come. Tampa’s most prized asset, which says a lot with Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, and Steven Stamkos in the mix, is primed for an exquisite campaign. 

While his 2021-22 numbers were solid (39-18-5, 2.49 GAA, .916 save percentage, two shutouts), Vasilevskiy will be the first to admit he endured a comparatively mediocre season. 

Vasilevskiy isn’t the type of person to underperform in successive seasons. I use the word underperform lightly and in context, as most of Vasilevskiy’s 2021-22 numbers were still among the league’s top 15. 

Nobody in Tampa’s camp was concerned with Vasilevskiy’s 2021-22 regular season, especially after watching him perform wondrously throughout Tampa’s Stanley Cup Final run. 

Vasilevskiy should return to the net fresh, and with a new lease on life, once again ready to take on the hockey world. Expect him to be named as a 2022-23 Vezina finalist. 

1. Igor Shesterkin (+250)

The 2021-22 Vezina winner enters the 2022-23 campaign as the lead horse, the frontrunner to defend his crown as the world’s best netminder. Shesterkin is looking to become the first back-to-back Vezina winner since Martin Brodeur in 2007 and 2008. 

The Rangers’ ace led the league in save percentage (.935), GAA (2.07), goals saved above expected (34.1), and posted the third-most shutouts (6). He also won 36 of 52 starts and backstopped the Rangers to a 110-point season, the most since 2013-14. 

Shesterkin was a shoo-in for the 2021-22 Vezina and it will take a historic season from another netminder to knock the Russian from his lofty pedestal. 

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About the Author

Gary Pearson

Read More @newagejourno

Gary Pearson is a freelance sports writer who contributes regularly to BetMGM, specializing in hockey, tennis and soccer coverage.

Gary Pearson is a freelance sports writer who contributes regularly to BetMGM, specializing in hockey, tennis and soccer coverage.