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2024 Vezina Trophy Odds & Predictions

By Hank Blaine

The 2023-24 NHL regular season begins next Tuesday. To no surprise, Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid is the betting favorite to win another Hart Trophy as league MVP but he’s such a favorite that it’s not even in doubt almost. However, the odds board for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie has a very close race with the New York Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin as the +400 favorite.

A Closer Look at the 2023 Vezina Trophy Odds

Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin Opens Season as Betting Favorite

Billy Smith of the New York Islanders was the first winner of the Vezina Trophy under the current system that started in 1981 and no Islanders netminder has won it since. Last season, the Russian Sorokin was a first-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy after going 31-22-7 with a 2.34 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and an NHL-best six shutouts in 62 games of the 2022-23 season.

He was third in save percentage and sixth in GAA among goalies to play at least 20 games and tied for third in games played. Sorokin made at least 30 saves in 25 games and was 5-0-2 when making at least 40 saves in a game this season. Since arriving in the NHL three seasons ago, he ranks first in shutouts (16) and GSAx (76.28), second in save percentage (.924) and GSAA (70.8), and third in goals against average (2.34). New York doesn’t open the season until next Saturday vs. Buffalo.

The other New York Russian goaltender, the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin, is +600. He won the 2021-22 Vezina Trophy when he finished the regular season as the league leader in save percentage (.935) and goals against average (2.07), while also recording six shutouts. At 5-on-5, his .935 save percentage was incredible, while his 23.71 goals saved above average was an incredible 23.71, per Natural Stat Trick.

Last season, Shesterkin and the Rangers as a whole slipped. He was 37-13-8 in 58 games. He had a 2.48 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, eighth and 10th, respectively, among the 42 goalies who played in 30 or more games. He was tied for third in wins. He had three shutouts. Still very good but Shesterkin said he thought too much last year as opposed to his Vezina season.

“I don’t need to think about anything, just make a push, stop and be focused, but last season I just started thinking too much before a shot, before a pass, and I made the first move,” Shesterkin said. “It’s easier for forwards to score.”

Nashville’s Juuse Saros is also +600 and Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck at +700. Saros was good enough to earn a pair of first-place Vezina votes last season, despite the Predators missing the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons by finishing three points out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card slot.

Nashville ranked 27th in shots against per 60 and 28th in expected goals, but Saros posted a .919 save percentage (SV%), a 2.69 goals-against average (GAA), 33 wins in 64 games, and led the NHL in Goals Saved Above Expected with 46.7 over four more than Vezina winner Linus Ullmark, who was the runner-up in that stat. The Predators will need to rely on Saros right out of the gate as the team sorts out a very different looking roster and integrates new systems from head coach Andrew Brunette.

There’s some talk the Jets might trade Hellebuyck, the 2020 Vezina winner, as Winnipeg’s starter is in the final season of his six-year, $37 million contract (which includes zero trade protection) and reportedly hasn’t shown an interest in extending with the Jets long term prior to becoming a UFA on July 1. Hellebuyck led the NHL in starts last season with 64 to go with a strong .920 save percentage. He also has a history of handling heavy workloads, appearing in more games (445) and making more saves (12,465) than any goaltender since entering the league in 2015-16.

What’s interesting is that Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2019 Vezina winner and a future Hall of Famer, is only +800 despite the fact he will miss at least the first two months after having back surgery. Vasilevskiy, 29, was one of seven goalies who started more than 60 games last season and finished with a 34-22-4 record in addition to a 2.65 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins are the Bolts’ goaltenders entering the season with Johannson the likely starter.

Boston’s Ullmark, last year’s Vezina winner, is +1800 to repeat, which is very rare for this award these days. Ullmark also will split time with Jeremy Swayman (+3000) as he did last year.

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