Varlamov makes finalist list for Vezina

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Another one we saw coming a mile away.

Semyon Varlamov joins Ryan O'Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon as a finalist for an NHL award this season. Varly is one of three finalists for the Vezina, once again surprising no one. This is a much closer race than the others, though, and one could easily see this award going to Tuuka Rask, as well. Ben Bishop's late-season wilt may have cost him the hardware, though. Varlamov was instrumental in the Avalanche's success in 2013-2014, but was it enough to get top honors?

From the NHL press release:

NEW YORK -- Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded "to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position," the National Hockey League announced today.

The general managers of the 30 NHL clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2014 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Following are the finalists for the Vezina Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

Bishop set multiple franchise records in backstopping the Lightning to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division in his first season as a starter. He became the Lightning's all-time leader for wins in a season with his 31st on Mar. 15 against New Jersey and finished the season ranked fourth in the NHL with 37. Bishop also set a franchise mark in save percentage (.924). He tied for fourth in the League in shutouts (five) and placed seventh in goals-against average (2.23). Bishop is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time.

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

Rask posted a 36-15-6 record, highlighted by a career-best 10-game point streak from Mar. 20-30 (9-0-1), as the Bruins captured their first Presidents' Trophy since 1990 and led the Eastern Conference in team defense (2.08 GA/game). He allowed two goals or fewer in 37 of 58 starts, set single-season highs in wins and appearances, and was the only goaltender to rank among the NHL's top five in each of the major statistical categories: first in shutouts (seven), second in save percentage (.930), fourth in goals-against average (2.04) and fifth in wins. Rask is a first-time Vezina finalist.

Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

Varlamov led the NHL and set a franchise record with 41 victories, surpassing Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy's previous single-season high of 40 in 2000-01, and joins Roy (1996-97) as the only goaltenders in club history to top the League in wins. He ranked first in the NHL in shots faced (2,013) and saves (1,867) and thrived under the heavy workload, posting a 7-1-1 mark when facing 40 or more shots and going 32-4-4 when facing 30-plus shots. Varlamov is a Vezina finalist for the first time and the first Avalanche goaltender nominated for the award since Roy was runner-up to Montreal's Jose Theodore in 2001-02.

History

Leo Dandurand, Louis Letourneau and Joe Cattarinich, former owners of the Montreal Canadiens, presented the trophy to the National Hockey League in 1926-27 in memory of Georges Vezina, the outstanding Canadiens goaltender who collapsed during an NHL game on Nov. 28, 1925, and died of tuberculosis a few months later. Until the 1981-82 season, the goaltender(s) of the team allowing the fewest number of goals during the regular season were awarded the Vezina Trophy.

Announcement Schedule

The NHL is announcing the three finalists for its regular-season awards through May 6. The remaining announcement schedule:

Lady Byng Nominees
Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, Ryan O'Reilly of the Colorado Avalanche and Martin St. Louis of  the New York Rangers

Calder nominees
Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche

Selke Nominees
Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks

Vezina Nominees
Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche

Monday, April 28
Norris Trophy (top defenseman)

Tuesday, April 29
Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone

Wednesday, April 30
Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)

Thursday, May 1
Hart Trophy (most valuable player to his team)

Friday, May 2
NHL Foundation Player Award (community service)

Monday, May 5
Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players)

Tuesday, May 6
Jack Adams Award (top head coach)

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