Sergei Bobrovsky led the Columbus Blue Jackets on the verge of a playoff berth during this shotgun start and finish known as the 2013 season, and he was rewarded by the league’s General Managers with the Vezina Trophy.
The 24-year-old, who was dealt from the Flyers last offseason, rolled to a 21-11-6 record, 2.00 goals-against average and .932 save percentage along with his first four career shutouts.
That was good enough to best last year’s winner, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Antti Niemi from the San Jose Sharks.
Bobrovsky finished with 17 first-place votes and appeared on 26 of the 30 ballots cast, accumulating 110 points.
He also, incredibly, finished fifth in league MVP voting.
The Norris Trophy went to Montreal Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban, the Calder Memorial Trophy for top rookie was given to Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau, and the Hart Trophy was awarded to Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin for the third time.
Ovechkin edged out Sidney Crosby for supremacy in the closest race for the Hart since Jose Theodore and Jarome Iginla went to a photo finish in 2002. That slight defeat was mitigated by the players themselves voting Crosby as winner of the Ted Lindsay Award for the top skater in the NHL.
As for current Flyers? None finished even close enough to warrant mention of how many votes any received or in what position they finished. You’re welcome to head over to our partners at Broad Street Hockey, who care much more about that angle than yours truly.
Switching gears…for those who were around then, or who are fortunate enough to pay attention to history, Bobrovsky’s Vezina win recalls Pete Peeters‘ travails 30 years earlier.
Following a disappointing third full NHL season in 1981-82 — where the Flyers as a whole surrendered a then-franchise-worst 313 goals — that saw Peeters finish 23-18-3 with a 3.71 GAA and no shutouts in 44 appearances, he was shipped off to Boston for defenseman Brad McCrimmon.
Riding the crest of a resurgent Bruins club that won the Adams Division under head coach Gerry Cheevers, Peeters bested all others in 1982-83, racking up career highs of 62 games played, 40 wins and eight shutouts, along with career lows of 11 losses and a GAA of 2.36.
It was the high-water mark for the Edmonton native’s 13-year NHL career which included a stop in Washington where he lost the starting job to both Bob Mason and Clint Malarchuk, then one more back in Philly from 1989-91 where he was little more than a backup on a mediocre team.
Of course, we don’t wish that ill fortune on the young Bobrovsky, but there is, at least, historical precedent for what anger, hurt, pain or schadenfreude Flyers fans are feeling right now.
Belfour was lauded in 1990 and played effective, if not dominant goal for the next decade and a half for the Blackhawks, Stars and Maple Leafs. Carey, who upstaged Dominik Hasek, Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy in 1996, was out of the NHL less than three seasons later after running afoul of the Capitals, Bruins and a last-ditch effort in St. Louis.