First awarded in 1927, the Vezina Trophy has been around a long time. That being said, it has quite the different history from most NHL awards.
The trophy was named after the early goaltending great Georges Vezina. Upon his early death the former owners of the Montreal Canadiens donated the trophy to the NHL to commemorate the best goalie in hockey.
Up until 1980-81 the trophy annually went to the goaltender/goaltending tandem who allowed the fewest goals against. No voting, just whoever let the fewest goals in was given the Vezina. Though far from a perfect method, it made some sense in the era where teams used only one goalie.
Once it became common practice to use two goalies in the late 1960s and 1970s, the award became less meaningful in many ways. Especially considering it basically was a team defense award, as the best goalie in hockey did not necessarily play for the team with the best team defense.
So in 1981-82 a change was made. The goalies/team with the fewest goals against in a season were now awarded the William Jennings Trophy. The Vezina would be awarded to the best goaltender in the league each season, as deemed by voting of the NHL general managers, not the media.
So as you can see there is a bit of a confusing history here. Let's look at the award's historical breakdowns, starting only from 1982:
7 - Buffalo Sabres
5 - Montreal Canadiens
4 - New Jersey Devils
3 - Chicago Blackhawks
2 - Washington Capitals
1 - New York Islanders
1 - Boston Bruins
1 - Philadelphia Flyers
1 - New York Rangers
1 - Edmonton Oilers
1 - Calgary Flames
Including the original awarding method, the Montreal Canadiens lead all franchises with 28 Vezina awards.
This year's Vezina Trophy nominees are:
Tim Thomas, Boston
Nicklas Backstrom, Minnesota
Steve Mason, Columbus
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