Vezina Trophy Rankings: Hill showing Cup run was no fluke
Welcome to the second in-season edition of theScore's 2023-24 Vezina Trophy rankings, a monthly look at the top goaltenders in the NHL.
This list features two newcomers and a new No. 1. A few of these top five weren't remotely considered Vezina Trophy candidates before the start of the season, but the data at this point doesn't lie. There's plenty of runway left for the usual suspects to climb the ranks, but until then, it's time to give some underdogs their flowers.
GSAA = Goals saved above average
GSAx = Goals saved above expected
5. Jeremy Swayman, Bruins
Previous rank: 2nd
Last month, we wondered whether Swayman is on track to usurp Linus Ullmark as Boston's No. 1 goalie. Since then, he's made one extra start than his partner in the crease and posted better numbers. It's still a pretty even split between the pipes in Boston, but Swayman is pushing to earn more ice time with his fantastic play.
Past the quarter mark of the season, the 25-year-old ranks second in save percentage among all netminders to make at least 10 starts while sitting fourth in GSAA and seventh in GSAx.
4. Cam Talbot, Kings
Previous rank: N/A
Talbot looks like the signing of the season after joining the Kings on a one-year, $1-million deal. They've been chasing reliable goaltending for years, and Talbot's emergence is a key reason Los Angeles looks like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender with the NHL's third-highest points percentage (.750).
Injuries derailed a forgettable stint in Ottawa, but Talbot looks better than ever in Hollywood. He's won eight of his last 10 starts with a .945 clip over that span and ranks fourth overall for the season in save percentage and third in GSAA. Questions about the 36-year-old's longevity are legitimate, but for the time being, Talbot is firmly in the mix.
3. Thatcher Demko, Canucks
Previous rank: 1st
Demko's cooled off considerably compared to the contemporaries in front of him this month, going 5-5-0 with an .889 save percentage since our first in-season rankings on Nov. 8. Peaks and valleys are to be expected, but a brief cold spell has taken Vancouver's top dog out of the top spot for the time being. His body of work this season has been remarkable, so a demotion on our list means very little in his quest to collect some hardware next summer.
Demko's still among the league leaders in all our statistical categories and is the main reason why Vancouver is trending toward a playoff spot. He's also logged more minutes (1,121:50) than any goalie to make these rankings, and Vezina voters traditionally favor a workhorse.
2. Connor Ingram, Coyotes
Previous rank: N/A
The Coyotes are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff picture through 25 games - and they have Ingram to thank. The 2016 Lightning pick, who entered the season with 29 NHL starts to his name, has been one of the league's best stories early in 2023-24 thanks to his unforeseen dominance.
Ingram has been scorching hot since our last rankings, going 7-2-0 with a .936 save percentage and two shutouts. The 26-year-old has managed 9.81 GSAA and 14.25 GSAx in the past month and now leads the league in the latter. Perhaps most impressively, Ingram has shined against some of the league's best teams, beating Vegas, Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Washington over the past two weeks.
1. Adin Hill, Golden Knights
Previous rank: 4th
Hill had a lot to prove this season after leading the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup six months ago. Many wondered if he could carry his springtime magic into the new campaign. So far, so good for the 27-year-old, who's been unflappable to begin the 2023-24 campaign and looks like a bargain after signing for $4.9 million per season.
He benefits from playing behind a deep Vegas defensive corps - backup Logan Thompson is posting sterling numbers this season, too - but Hill has yet to lose consecutive appearances and paces the league in goals against average, save percentage, and GSAA. Hill ranks 20th among netminders in minutes logged so far, but the NHL handed the Vezina to Ullmark after the Swede posted similar numbers in limited playing time last season. There's no arguing Hill has established himself among the league's elite in goal.
Honorable mentions: Jake Oettinger (Stars), Tristan Jarry (Penguins), Igor Shesterkin (Rangers)
(Stats source: Evolving-Hockey)