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Vezina Trophy 2013: Sergei Bobrovsky building case in Columbus

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Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is keeping his team in the Western Conference playoff race and is quickly becoming the favorite in the Vezina Trophy race.

USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has emerged as one of the league's best young goaltenders and is considered by many as the favorite for the 2013 Vezina Trophy. In 33 appearances this season, Bobrovsky has registered a 17-10-6 record with a .946 save percentage and 2.03 goals against average with four shutouts.

In terms of Bobrovsky's statistical production, his save percentage is the second highest in the NHL. Craig Anderson currently leads the league with a .949 percentage but has only played in 18 games and faced 400 fewer shots than Bobrovsky.

Of course, it should also be noted that New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has a .928 save percentage (fourth best) and has faced 77 more shots than Bobrovsky, while San Jose Sharks net minder Antti Niemi has a .925 save percentage (tied for sixth best) and has faced 128 more shots than Bobrovsky (a total of 1,074 shots against, second most in the league).

Entering competition on Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets are tied with the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot in the West. Some have argued the team is only in that position because of Bobrovsky's stellar play.

Based upon the general consensus of professional writer's columns, conversations and tweets, it appears they would name Bobrovsky as the winner of the award. Of course, they're not the ones who get to make that distinction, as it will be left to the NHL's 30 general managers.

Regardless of the final result, the 24-year-old Columbus goaltender has battled quite a bit of adversity to be in this current position.

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Flyers, he made the team out of training camp as a 21-year-old without any experience in North American-style hockey. After an early string of success, he faltered near the end of the season and was benched in the playoffs.

The following offseason, the team acquired Ilya Bryzgalov and ultimately closed the door on Bobrovsky's future with the franchise. After a season as a back-up, he was dealt to Columbus where he was given an opportunity to battle Steve Mason for the team's starting job.

After both players failed to take over the position in the early goings of the season, Bobrovsky lit up the league in March and hasn't looked back since.

Whether that string of success results in an award at the end of the season remains to be seen. However, his name will certainly be in the running and a strong conclusion to the season on a playoff contending team should be enough to put the voting in his favor.

More in the NHL:

Are the Canucks a contender?

Welcoming Craig MacTavish as Oilers GM

Jimmy Howard’s case for the Vezina

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