Vezina Trophy Power Rankings: Lehner making compelling case

With the All-Star Game now in the books, the unofficial halfway point of the season has come and gone, and we are still no closer to designating this year's best goaltender.

For the fourth straight edition, there is a new favorite to capture the Vezina Trophy.

5. David Rittich, Calgary Flames

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The Flames are cruising, and although the club boasts the best offense in the Western Conference, Rittich has been instrumental in their success.

For the first time since Miikka Kiprusoff hung up the skates following the 2012-13 campaign, Calgary looks to have some stability between the pipes. In fact, Rittich's .918 save percentage is tied for the fifth-highest mark in a season by a Flames netminder over the past 20 years. The four spots ahead of him are all occupied by Kiprusoff.

In 30 games, Rittich has gone 19-4-4. His .937 save percentage at five-on-five ranks second overall among goalies to play at least 800 minutes and his .880 high-danger save percentage is the third highest. He's making a heck of a case.

4. John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

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Last month's favorite is beginning to slip, but his recent play is merely a byproduct of those playing in front of him.

Gibson has just two wins in nine games since the calendar flipped to 2019. Over that span, he's allowed two or fewer goals on just three occasions. However, Gibson has faced the most shots at five-on-five and 55 more high-danger shots than the next closest netminder this season.

The Ducks are a single point out of the final wild-card spot in the West despite scoring the second-fewest goals per game and allowing the third-most shots against. The man needs help.

3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

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Nikita Kucherov's monstrous campaign has been nothing short of spectacular, but through 50 games, Vasilevskiy has arguably been the Lightning's most valuable player this year.

In just 29 games, he's recorded 20 wins, a .922 save percentage, and a 2.55 goals-against average - the lowest mark of his career as a starter.

The Lightning are in the midst of a potentially record-breaking season, and while the club is scoring more goals than any team in the NHL, Vasilevskiy has been no slouch.

2. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

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The Maple Leafs were hit-or-miss prior to the All-Star break. Luckily, they went into the weekend on a high after a big 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals, where Andersen made 41 stops.

Andersen has been consistent, ranking tied for second in save percentage (.923), 12th in goals-against average (2.56), and third in wins (22). He also ranks first among all goalies with 13.46 goals saved above average at five-on-five.

Of course, coming out of the break with newly acquired Jake Muzzin in the fold should make Andersen one happy camper.

1. Robin Lehner, New York Islanders

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The Islanders have gone from a team that allowed the most goals against per game last campaign (3.57) to the fewest (2.41) this season.

Having a defensive-minded coach in Barry Trotz has played a major role, but Lehner also deserves credit. The 27-year-old has gone 15-7-4 in 27 games with a 2.02 goals-against average, which is tops among goalies to play at least 20 games. Meanwhile, his .940 five-on-five save percentage and .931 mark overall both rank first in the NHL, while his 13.19 goals saved above average sits third.

After a forgettable 2017-18 in Buffalo, Lehner has been remarkable with the Islanders and could be rewarded handsomely for his stellar play at the end of the season.

(Advanced stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

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