The Sports Forecaster

The Top 9 Vezina Trophy Candidates of 1995

In the fast-paced world of the NFHL, the role of the goaltender is paramount. Their ability to withstand pressure, maintain composure, and make game-changing saves makes them one of the most critical components of any successful team. With every team having played more than 10 games so far, let's take a closer look at the top 9 goaltenders who have not only displayed exceptional skills between the pipes, but also have the statistics and team influence to back their candidacy for this prestigious award:

9. Dominik Hasek, Florida

Starting our list at number nine is Dominik Hasek of the Florida Panthers. Known for his unconventional style and agility, Hasek has a season record of 3 wins and 5 losses. His save percentage stands at .880, and his GAA is 3.33. Despite a challenging season, so far and an early season trade bringing him to a new team, Hasek's previous accolades, including two Vezina wins in 1991 and 1992 and a seventh-place finish in last year's voting, underscore his potential to bounce back and "dominate". Sports Forecaster odds: 9-to-1.

8. Bob Froese, Edmonton

At number eight, we have Bob Froese of the Edmonton Oilers. With a record of 7 wins, 4 losses, and 3 ties, Froese's performance this season has been solid. His save percentage is a remarkable .902, and he maintains a GAA of 2.60. Previously the backup goalie in Minnesota before a pre-season trade, Froese's step up this season in terms of performance and leadership makes him a key contender. Hes also backed by a very capable Tommy Salo. Despite that, Edmonton has been leaning hard on Froese, who leads the league in minutes played at 855. Froese is also the oldest goalie on this list at 36 years of age.  Sports Forecaster odds: 5.67-to-1.

7. Kelly Hrudey, Colorado

Kelly Hrudey of Colorado, takes the seventh spot. He has proven his worth with a record of 6 wins, 3 losses, and no ties. Despite his save percentage of .866 and a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.33, Hrudey's experience and resilience keep him in the race. A three-time Vezina winner, including the last two seasons, his track record and ability to perform under pressure make him a goaltender to watch as the season progresses.  His slow start however needs a course correction if he hopes to become the first goalie in history to win 3 consecutive Vezinas.  Sports Forecaster odds: 4-to-1.

6. Allan Bester, Winnipeg

Allan Bester of Winnipeg occupies the sixth spot on our list. His season record stands at 6 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie. Bester has a save percentage of .891 and a GAA of 2.98. Finishing fourth in last year's Vezina voting, Bester's consistency and ability to make crucial saves are pivotal to Winnipeg's success and his Vezina candidacy. There is lots of pressure on him however as backup Karl Friesen can only take on the weaker teams leaving Bester to face all the top tier teams.  Sports Forecaster odds: 3-to-1.

5. Don Beaupre, Hartford

Don Beaupre of Hartford claims the fifth position. Beaupre's season has been commendable, with 8 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie. His save percentage of .891 and a GAA of 2.54 reflect his steady presence in the net. Finishing eighth in last year's Vezina voting, Beaupre's experience and reliability make him a strong candidate for this year's trophy. Sports Forecaster odds: 2.3-to-1.

4. John Vanbiesbrouck, Detroit

John Vanbiesbrouck of Detroit stands fourth. The 'Beezer' has been a wall for Detroit, with 6 wins, 3 losses, and no ties. With a save percentage of .890 and a GAA of 2.56, Vanbiesbrouck's skill and poise, especially as last year's SMJ Cup winner and third in Vezina voting make him a formidable presence and a top contender for the trophy. He is also a potential Jennings winner with his teammate Felix Potvin, who has also played extremely well so far this season. Sports Forecaster odds: 1.86-to-1.

3. Kirk McLean, New Jersey

Kirk McLean of New Jersey earns the third spot on our list. McLean's record of 7 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie is impressive. His save percentage stands at .900, and he maintains a GAA of 2.37 which leads the league amongst his peers. As last year's Vezina runner-up, McLean's consistency and ability to perform in high-pressure situations are undeniable. His crucial role in New Jersey's defense makes his Vezina case strong. Sports Forecaster odds: 1.5-to-1.

2. Ed Belfour, Vancouver

Coming in at second is Ed Belfour of Vancouver. 'Eddie the Eagle' has soared this season with a record of 6 wins, 1 loss, and 2 ties. His remarkable save percentage of .908 leads the league so far and his GAA of 2.40 are testaments to his agility and sharp reflexes. Not in last year's top 10 Vezina votes, Belfour's significant improvement and impact on Vancouver's success have catapulted him to the forefront of the Vezina conversation. Sports Forecaster odds: 1-to-1.

1. Martin Brodeur, Minnesota

Topping the list is Martin Brodeur of Minnesota, a goalie whose name has become synonymous with excellence. Brodeur's exceptional record of 10 wins, 1 loss, and 3 ties sets him apart from his peers. With a save percentage of 0.891 and a GAA of 2.70, his presence in the net is both imposing and reassuring for his team. Notably, Brodeur was not in last year's Top 10 in Vezina votes, making his meteoric rise to the top of this list all the more impressive and indicative of his unmatched skill and determination. Sports Forecaster odds: 0.42-to-1.

Analysis and Outlook

The 1995 Vezina Trophy race is characterized by a mix of established veterans such as Bester and Beaupre, past Vezina winners such as Hrudey and Hasek and emerging talents like Brodeur and Belfour.  The season has just started and just like the standings show, the top goalies themselves have so far mostly excelled thus making the gap between the top performers very slim.  That being said, the Forecaster is going to stick to its prediction and forecast a win for Martin Brodeur who is coming into his own while being supported by arguably one of the best defensive units in the league.  Brodeur allows Minnesota to probably sit one or two positions higher in the standings than they would, with any other goalie on this list.

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-The Sports Forecaster