Awarded to the best goalie as voted by the GM’s of the league. This year’s candidates are:
Braden Holtby burst onto the scene for the Washington Capitals in the 2012 regular season after being forced into the starting role after Michael Neuvirth as injured.
He went 4-2-1 in that regular season and was even better in the playoffs, going 7-7 with a .935 SV%, and a 1.35 GAA.
From that point on, Holtby would become the mainstay in net for the Caps. After an injury shortened 2013-14 campaign, Holtby bounced back by starting an NHL best 72 games and going 41-20-10 in 2014-15.
During the 2015-16 season Holtby started six less games but tied an NHL record with 48 wins backstopping the Caps to the President’s Trophy, going 48-9-7 with a .922 SV% and a 2.20 GAA.
Holtby was dominant in almost every game he played this year as he left players shaking their heads with his remarkable saves. Holtby is poised to become the third Capital to ever win the award.
When the Tampa Bay Lightning acquired Bishop at the trade deadline in 2013, it was a “big” move in more ways than one.
The 6”7 Bishop was brilliant during the 2013-14 season, going 37-14-7 with a .924 SV% and a 2.23 GAA, but suffered an injury just before the 2014 postseason which forced him to watch his team get swept by Montreal.
Bishop backstopped the Lightning all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but missed the end of Game 2 and all of Game 4 of the Finals. He didn’t look like himself for most of the series. It was later revealed Bishop had suffered a groin injury.
During the 2015-16 season Bishop cemented himself as an elite goaltender, posting a 35-21-4 record with a league leading 2.06 GAA and the second best SV% at .925. He used his size to his advantage by challenging players at the top of his crease.
With his big body there are almost no angles to beat him on.
With the exception of this past season, no current NHL goalie has risen to the occasion in the spring like 2012 Conn Smyth winner Jonathan Quick.
Quick has been the Los Angeles Kings starting net minder since the start of the 2010-11 season. He’s become well known for making clutch save after clutch save when it matters most, as evidenced by his two shutouts in 11 career Stanley Cup Final games.
Quick posted a 40-23-5 record (a career high in wins) with a .918 SV% and a 2.22 GAA. He also added 5 of his 51 career shutouts this past year.
Quick is vying for the chance to be the first King ever to win the award.
The Verdict: Braden Holtby
Holtby was head and shoulders the best goalie in the NHL this season, no question.