Finally, the NHL has recognized something Vegas Golden Knights fans have known all along: Marc-Andre Fleury is the best goaltender in the NHL. Now he has the hardware to prove it after winning his first Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender.
The award completes a career year for Fleury, who won the William Jennings Trophy with teammate Robin Lehner for allowing the fewest goals against in the regular season. Fleury posted a 26-10-0 record, along with career-bests with a 1.97 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. Fleury also recorded six shutouts this season, good for third place in the league.
This season was also one of tremendous career accomplishments for Fleury. He moved into third place all-time in wins with 492, tenth in games played with 883, and a tie for 14th in shutouts with 67.
Fleury was quick to give credit to his teammates and Vegas Golden Knights staff.
“I had a good team in front of me that always helped the goalie,” a grinning Fleury said during the NHL awards broadcast as he was interviewed by one of his idols, Martin Brodeur.
He also credited the Vegas trainers, then added, “I just love the game. I still have a passion for the game and have a lot of fun playing the game. I’m just lucky to do what I like to do.”
Fleury wasn’t done with his effusive praise for his teammates.
“My teammates, like I said, they’ve been amazing,” Fleury said. “Playing consistently good defense in front of me. My partner Robin Lehner for his support throughout the season.”
Fleury also spoke about VGK goaltending coach Mike Rosati, saying they “tweaked little things here and there and I think [he] helped me throughout the season.”
And of course, Fleury thanked the rabid Golden Knights fan base.
“The fans… at the beginning of the season with nobody in the stands and having them at full capacity in Vegas, in the end, was so much fun. It
just brings the emotion and the atmosphere into the building and it was a lot of fun.”
Fleury beat Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche in the final voting. Here are the results of the overall voting:
2021 Vezina Trophy voting
1. Marc-Andre Fleury, VGK 108 (14-11-5)
2. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL 99 (12-12-3)
3. Philipp Grubauer, COL 36 (2-6-8)
4. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG 13 (2-0-3)
5. Semyon Varlamov, NYI 11 (1-1-3)
6. Juuse Saros, NSH 10 (0-1-7)
7. Mike Smith, EDM 2 (0-0-2)
Points allocation: 5-3-1 (1st-2nd-3rd)
If it wasn’t for Fleury’s elevated level of play, it’s uncertain where the Vegas Golden Knights would have finished. But tonight Fleury finally receives the recognition he deserves.