3 reasons Thatcher Demko should still be a front-runner for the Vezina Trophy

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is missing time with an injury, but he should still be a front-runner for the Vezina Trophy.

Mar 9, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes a
Mar 9, 2024; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes a / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
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Quality starts and quality starts percentage is top-tier

Few legitimate Vezina Trophy candidates have recorded more quality starts or a better quality starts percentage than Thatcher Demko. Looking at the top goaltenders in the sheer number of quality starts, Demko ranks second with 32, behind only Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, who has 34. 

But Demko and Hellebuyck have more starts than most goaltenders this season, so let’s instead break down quality starts percentage to get a more accurate picture. Among all goaltenders with at least 20 starts this season, Demko ranks eighth with a 0.653 quality starts percentage, with only Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Hellebuyck, Cam Talbot, and Linus Ullmark as the only legitimate candidates ahead of him. 

Hellebuyck would admittedly be tough to beat here, but Luukkonen’s Sabres aren’t making the playoffs, and you can argue Jeremy Swayman has overtaken Ullmark as the 1A in Boston’s net. That only leaves Talbot as the only other top-tier candidate for the Vezina on this list who has completely taken over the No. 1 goaltending spot AND most likely has his team in the playoffs. 

If Demko returns before the postseason, he will have a chance to up his current number and close in on Hellebuyck. The good news is that the Canucks haven’t struggled as much as they could have so far without him in the net, so when you ultimately replace the so-so Casey DeSmith with the star goaltender, Demko will have an outstanding opportunity.