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Photo Credit: Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Could Mikko Koskinen contend for the Vezina next season?

Hey! It’s the offseason and we’re all bored, so let’s take a look ahead at if any Edmonton Oilers can win some hardware next year. 

Yesterday we took a look at Leon Draisaitl’s chances of winning the Hart Trophy yesterday and today, we’ll examine Mikko Koskinen’s chances at a Vezina.

The long and short of it is that it’s highly unlikely that Koskinen is even in the Vezina conversation this year, but hey, there was a global pandemic that crippled the world this year so who knows what can happen.

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This past, Koskinen was very good for the Edmonton Oilers. He posted an 18-13-3 record along with a .917 save percentage and a 9.25 GSAA in 38 games played. According to Hockey Reference, Koskinen’s goalie point share was 7.6 In comparison, the league’s Vezina winner this year was Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck, who played in 58 games posting a 31-21-5 record, a .922 save percentage, a 22.4 GSAA and a goalie point share of 12.5, a league high.

The most negligible difference between the two was the number of games played. Koskinen operated in a 1A/1B situation alongside Mike Smith, while Hellebuyck was nothing short of a workhouse.

Koskinen’s save percentage wasn’t too far off from that off Hellebuyck’s, but the goals saved above average wasn’t necessarily close.

Looking back over the last number of winners, Hellebuyck’s save percentage is the lowest since 2015-16 when Braden Holtby won with a .922. On top of that, every goalie who has won played the lions share of games for their respective club. Past Vezina winners have had goalie point shares in the range of 9.2 (Sergei Bobrovsky in 2012-12) up to the range of 16.

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For Koskinen to have a Vezina caliber season, there’s a few things that would need to happen. First, he would need to take on the lions share of games. Koskinen would have to play at least 70 percent of the Oilers games in the upcoming season. Nearly every Vezina winner has been a workhorse in their respective seasons, so Mikko would need to do the same.

Second, he would need to post a save percentage of at least .922, given the save percentages of goalies who have won in the last decade. He wasn’t far off this year posting a .917 in all situations and given the improvements he made between 2018-19 and last year, there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t improve his save percentage by five points. What should be a better, older defensive group should help in that sense.

And last, he would need to be better than the field. Something would need to happen in Koskinen’s game to separate him from the likes of Hellebuyck, Tukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jacob Markstrom and some of the other top goaltenders in the league.

Could these things happen? Sure, there’s a chance, but I wouldn’t bank on Koskinen being in the Vezina race this year.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

 

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