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Thatcher Demko - 2021-22 Vezina Trophy candidate? Where does he rank?

As we approach the Halfway mark of the 2021-22 season, has Demko become a Vezina Trophy favorite?


Demko has been electrifying in the 2021-22 season so far, but is he a Vezina caliber goaltender quite yet? Lets have a look at the facts.


In 27 games between the pipes for the Vancouver Canucks so far, Demko has a .920 SV%, and a 2.55 GAA with 1 shutout. However, his best performances have been happening since Travis Green was relieved of his coaching duties by the Vancouver Canucks.


Despite the poor performances by the team in front of him during the Travis Green era, Demko made some highlight reel saves & established himself as an elite goaltender.


As the Travis Green era came to an end in Vancouver, Thatcher Demko was lights out during the month of December under new head coach Bruce Boudreau.

During the month of December, he went 7-1-0 with a SV% .946, GAA 1.72 with 1 shutout.




His best saves so far this season


What is now known now as the "Scorpion save". Demko did this during a November 2nd 3-2 win against the New York Rangers. This sequence of saves kept the Canucks ahead late in the game.


Sportsnet counted down the best saves of 2021, and this save was ranked #1.



Here was another incredible save from November 7, when Demko heroically made this desperation save to keep the game tied early. The Canucks went on to win this game 6-3 against the Stars.



As you can see, the Thatcher Snatcher is a human highlight reel. And there is more.



It's hard to believe that this is just the first 82-game season of the 26-year-old goaltenders career.


Had the NHL been sending its players to the Olympics for the 2022 Beijing games, Thatcher Demko would have been a member of Team USA's Winter Olympic team, had NHL players been allowed to go, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.


“I have it on good authority that Thatcher Demko would have been a member of the US Olympic team had the NHL players gone Beijing, certainly a bright spot in Vancouver,” said Seravalli.


“The thing that I’ve been working on the most this year is making sure that consistency is there,” Demko told reporters earlier this week.



Vezina Competition


Here are some of the other Vezina candidates at this point in the season.


Jack Campbell (Toronto Maple Leafs)
  • 25 GP, 17-5-2, 4 SO

  • 1.87 GAA, .939 SV%


Igor Sheshterkin (New York Rangers)
  • 21 GP, 15-4-2, 2 SO

  • 2.09 GAA, .936 SV%


Tristan Jarry (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  • 25 GP, 16-5-4, 3 SO

  • 1.89 GAA, .934 SV%


Frederik Andersen (Carolina Hurricanes)
  • 22 GP, 17-5-0, 1 SO

  • 1.92 GAA, .929 SV%


Juuse Saros (Nashville Predators)
  • 27 GP, 17-9-1, 2 SO

  • 2.23 GAA, .927 SV%


Jacob Markstrom (Calgary Flames)
  • 24 GP, 12-7-5, 5 SO

  • 2.15 GAA, .926 SV%


Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning)
  • 26 GP, 18-5-3, 2 SO

  • 2.24 GAA, .924 SV%


Ilya Sorokin (New York Islanders)
  • 20 GP, 8-7-5, 3 SO

  • 2.46 GAA, .925 SV%


Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida Panthers)
  • 22 GP, 15-3-2, 0 SO

  • 2.45 GAA, .921 SV%


Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings)
  • 21 GP, 10-7-4, 2 SO

  • 2.37 GAA, .923 SV%



Playoffs will determine Demko's Vezina case


Demko currently ranks first in games played (27), sixth in wins (15), and 12th in save percentage (.920) among goalies with at least 12 games played this season.


He’s currently in a tie for third with Jarry with a .939 even-strength save percentage. Among starters, he trails only Quick (.941 SV%) and Campbell (.944 SV%).


Alone, those numbers wont win Demko the Vezina trophy. However, if he can lead the Canucks into and through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he will get much more support.

Bobrovsky won the Vezina with the Columbus Blue Jackets back in 2012-13 despite his team missing the playoffs. Connor Hellebuyck also won it in 2019-20 when Winnipeg missed out on the playoffs (they were ninth in the Western Conference when the season shut down).


Still, it’s unlikely that Demko gets a nomination without the Canucks making the playoffs.


The positive is that Demko’s MVP-like performance this season gives the Canucks a chance of making the postseason. According to MoneyPuck, the Canucks playoff odds have jumped from 7.4% up to 20.6% in the time since Jim Benning and Travis Green were fired.




Despite the fact that the defence has improved this season, it's Demko's stellar play that’s giving the Canucks a chance to miraculously make the postseason.


But, without a full season as an NHL starter, Demko still feels like he has to prove himself.


“This year I really wanted to come in and just nail down that consistency and prove that I could do it on a nightly basis,” Demko recently told the media.


“I still think I can sharpen some things up and just big picture wise, I’m only 26, so I still got a lot of years to continue to grow and develop my game.”









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