NHL 2023-24 futures: Best bets to win the Vezina Trophy
Given the high-variance nature of the goaltending position, it's not necessarily surprising that nobody has won the Vezina Trophy in back-to-back years since Martin Brodeur in the late 2000s.
Let's see the top of the oddsboard and then take a closer look at three goaltenders I see value in backing to unseat last season's winner, Linus Ullmark.
Ilya Sorokin (+400)
Sorokin checks all the boxes for a potential award-winning goaltender. He consistently posts elite save percentages, he wins a lot more than he loses - despite limited offensive support, he is 17 games above NHL .500 (which excludes overtime losses) the past two years - and he carries an insane workload.
Sorokin played in 62 games a season ago, which was more than all but Connor Hellebuyck and Juuse Saros. And there is every reason to expect another monster workload this year.
With the Islanders opting to bring back almost the exact same roster, their margin for error in terms of trying to make the playoffs is slim. They simply don't have enough talent to breeze through the regular season. That means they'll need Sorokin in the net as often as possible in order to seriously contend for a playoff spot.
Although many goaltenders see rather extreme variance in their numbers on a year-to-year basis, Sorokin is a rare exception. He's posted save percentages of .924 and .925 as a starter. He ranks top three in both total save percentage and high-danger save percentage in that span.
He is as reliable as they come and has been knocking on the door of a Vezina. It's only a matter of time.
Jake Oettinger (+1100)
Oettinger is one of the NHL's brightest young stars - no pun intended - at his position. He is already one of the better goaltenders in the league and he's still getting better.
Oettinger has played three NHL seasons. Each year his save percentage has risen, as has his workload.
He is coming off a monstrous 2022-23 campaign in which he posted a 37-11-11 record and .919 save percentage. Although it wasn't enough for a Vezina nomination, there's plenty of reason to believe he'll be in the mix in 2023-24.
The Stars are clearly willing to give him all the starts he can handle. With only $1 million committed to journeyman backup goaltender Scott Wedgewood, that is surely their plan once again.
Dallas is one of the best defensive teams in the NHL - last year, it ranked sixth in expected goal suppression - so Oettinger shouldn't see many high-quality chances on any given night. That'll make it easier to post strong numbers.
The Stars can also score in bunches, so Oettinger won't leave many wins on the table due to a lack of run support.
Alexandar Georgiev (+2500)
Georgiev is a mouthwatering dark horse to bring home some hardware. His debut season with the Avalanche couldn't have gone much better, with Georgiev posting a 40-16-6 record and .919 save percentage over 62 games.
The Avalanche are fairly heavily invested in Pavel Francouz as a platoon candidate, but he has dealt with a lot of injury problems and appears to be out of the picture for a while to start this year. That means another heavy workload for Georgiev, who proved he could handle it a season ago.
Colorado is a true Stanley Cup contender that overwhelms opponents with its offense almost every night. Georgiev is going to get a ton of run support and, thus, wins.
Nobody in Georgiev's price range plays for a team that's even close to as good as the Avalanche. Considering the numbers he put up a year ago, and the fact Francouz's injury troubles have already popped up, there is a lot of value at +2500.
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.
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