The Toronto Maple Leafs have had their problems. They get out-shot. They turn the puck over a lot. Their defense makes a lot of mistakes. Yet somehow the Leafs are in second place in the tough Atlantic Division. How could that be?
Well, it’s really quite easy. The Leafs have a No. 1 goaltender that gives them a chance to win every night. Jonathan Bernier has come in and taken the reins as the Leafs starting goalie. No matter what James Reimer has done, Bernier has kept the net to himself for the most part.
There’s no question that a large portion of the Leafs success is because of Bernier. The question that could be asked though is: Is his season good enough to warrant consideration for the Vezina Trophy?
The stats say that Bernier could very well be considered but there is one that stands out. Bernier is fifth in the NHL in save percentage. Now take into account that two of the goalies above him in save percentage. Now take into account that only Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes has faced more shots and made more saves as Bernier is second in both those categories.
Technically, the Vezina Trophy goes to the best goalie in the NHL, not the goalie that means the most to his team. Looking around the NHL, there might not be a team that relies on their goaltending like the Leafs do with Bernier.
With 16 games left in the season, Bernier could strengthen his case with a strong performance.