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Thatcher Demko is a top-three finalist for the 2024 Vezina Trophy

Demko won't win the Vezina but it's an honour just to be nominated.
Thatcher Demko is one of three finalists for the 2024 Vezina Trophy as voted by NHL general managers.

Thatcher Demko may currently be out of the Vancouver Canucks' lineup but he's not out of the news.

On Monday morning, the NHL announced the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy for the best goaltender of the 2023-24 season as voted by the NHL's general managers. Demko got the nod alongside Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers and Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets.

It's a well-deserved honour for Demko, who established himself as one of the truly elite goaltenders in the NHL this season despite missing over a month with a knee injury. He's the first Canuck to be nominated for the Vezina since Roberto Luongo in 2011.

If Demko won, he would be the first Canuck to win the award. Luongo finished second in Vezina voting in 2007, as did Kirk McLean in 1992, but neither goaltender ever won the Vezina. The odds are severely stacked against Demko winning this year, however.

The Vezina this year is almost certain to go to Connor Hellebuyck, who had a Hart Trophy-caliber season to carry the Winnipeg Jets to a 110-point season with the league's lowest goals against. In almost every statistical category, Demko comes up just short to Hellebuyck.

Hellebuyck, Demko, and Bobrovsky finished first, second, and third in the NHL in Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA), Natural Stat Trick's go-to goaltending metric. When it comes to Goals Above Replacement (GAR), Evolving-Hockey's all-in-one metric, Hellebuyck is miles ahead of anyone else. And in Quality Start Percentage, Hellebuyck once again leads the way, with a quality start in 66.7% of his starts this season.

There's absolutely no shame in finishing second to Hellebuyck — or even third behind Bobrovsky as well — because Hellebuyck had a simply phenomenal season. For Demko to establish himself this way in this season, however, makes it more likely that he can break through and win the award in a future season. 

That's assuming, of course, that he can stay healthy. Demko has dealt with some serious injuries already in his NHL career, including one that wiped out almost his entire 2022-23 season. It's unknown how severe his current knee injury is — even if he does return to play in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he could potentially still have a long recovery time before he is back to 100%. 

But when Demko is healthy, he's one of the best goaltenders in the world. With his Vezina nomination, he has finally been officially recognized as such.