Ramblings: Vezina Finalists, Holding Steady Through Failures & Free Agent Salary Projections (June 2)

Alexander MacLean

2021-06-02

My updated top-200 contract projections are below. This is a Ramblings article though, so there are a few other thoughts I want to touch on before I get to the contract numbers.

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The Vezina nominees were revealed yesterday:

In my (perhaps slightly biased) opinion, Juuse Saros should have been nominated here. No offence to Philipp Grubauer, but Saros put up extremely similar stats with a lot less help this year. Connor Hellebuyck would have been a deserving nominee as well.

Many seem to think the award will go to Andrei Vasilevskiy, however I say the favourite has to be Marc-Andre Fleury. The two goalies have very similar numbers, but Fleury hasn't yet won a Vezina and is such a well-liked player. If you don't think that won't factor in just enough to tip the scales in his favour, then you haven't been watching NHL awards for long enough.

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That being said, Andrei Vasilevskiy was nearly unbeatable last night against the Canes, despite the shots being 32 to 15 in Carolina's favour. His dominance at the position is in part due to the juggernaut team in front of him, but he is also just a fantastic goalie. Even for an offence like Carolina's it's going to be tough to put up enough goals to take four of the next five games to win the series. It really looks like we're headed for an epic Avalanche/Lightning showdown, and even a Leafs fan like myself could sit back and enjoy that despite Monday's collapse.

On that note, I really hope the Leafs don't blow up the core after this. The Blackhawks were swept in 2017, traded Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad, and haven't been the same since. The cores with this much talent that stick together do seem to break through eventually, and with some cap flexibi