There is often a great deal of similarity between voting for the Vezina Trophy, which is done by the league's general managers, and the voting for the year-end First and Second All-Star Teams done by the broadcast media. Last year was an example of a time when they did not agree, however, with Brodeur winning the Vezina and Nabokov getting named to the First All-Star Team. I thought it might be interesting to highlight some of the goalies who have had different results in Vezina and All-Star voting, not in terms of any particular season as in the case of Nabokov and Brodeur, but over the course of their careers to see if there was anyone that the GMs thought highly of but was overlooked by the writers.
Award voting is difficult to compare directly, since the number of voters changes from year to year. The best method is probably the one used at hockeygoalies.org, where the voting share is calculated for each goalie by dividing the number of voting points by the number of points a goalie would receive if he was a unanimous winner. That gives us a single scale that allows us to not only compare from year-to-year, but also between Vezina and All-Star voting. To get a career total, you just need to add up the total award "shares" for each goalie. For example, if a goalie gets 100 points out of a possible 200, that is a 0.50 share. If he has a 0.25 share the next season, and a 0.10 share the season after, his career total is 0.85.
For the well-known goalies there isn't too much difference between the two totals. Here are the results for the 4 most likely recent Hall of Famers, who all have All-Star voting totals between 8-15% higher than their Vezina results:
Belfour: 2.49 Vezina, 2.86 All-Star
Brodeur: 5.19 Vezina, 5.75 All-Star
Hasek: 4.76 Vezina, 5.22 All-Star
Roy: 4.64 Vezina, 5.00 All-Star
It is fairly standard for the well-known goalies that All-Star voting surpasses Vezina voting, since there tends to be more consensus. There are more a lot more writers voting on the awards than GMs, so one or two off-the-wall picks have less of an impact percentage-wise. The writers are also probably at least somewhat aware of each other's articles and published opinions, so that will influence some groupthink. It is also likely that some writers simply don't have a good idea of who the best goalie is, so they pick the most recognizable name.
On the other hand, some GMs don't get to see all the teams play so they may focus primarily on their own conference or division, or might even just throw some support behind their own goalie, which leads to more spread out voting results.
There were a number of goalies that accumulated substantially more Vezina shares than All-Star voting shares, meaning that they were valued higher by general managers than the media. If we assume that general managers have extra inside information from professional scouts as well as their hockey experience and expertise in evaluating talent, we would expect that the GMs should make better picks, and that the goalies that come up on this list should be goalies that are considered underrated.
There were 5 guys who met my threshhold of having Vezina shares that were at least 20% higher than All-Star shares:
Kelly Hrudey: 0.38 Vezina, 0.12 All-Star
Guy Hebert: 0.14 Vezina, 0.02 All-Star
Curtis Joseph: 1.02 Vezina, 0.42 All-Star
Daren Puppa: 0.82 Vezina, 0.60 All-Star
John Vanbiesbrouck: 1.52 Vezina, 1.07 All-Star
I have been less than flattering in some of the things I have written about Vezina voting and general managers, but here I'm going to be quite complimentary. That is a pretty good list.
Kelly Hrudey, Guy Hebert, and Daren Puppa are all guys that have pretty solid save percentage records, and often pop up in unexpected places when I look at various statistical comparisons. Curtis Joseph and John Vanbiesbrouck both have very good save percentage record compared to their peers in both the regular season and playoffs, but never had the team success that attracts recognition.
Curtis Joseph is the goalie who was most consistently rated higher by people inside the game of hockey than by casual observers. In the eyes of many fans, Curtis Joseph is a loser who always choked past the second round of the playoffs and never accomplished anything. Many people consider him to be a borderline Hall of Famer, despite being 4th all-time in the career wins list. Joseph never won a Vezina or was named a First or Second Team All-Star, and he never played in a Stanley Cup Final. However, if you look at insider perspectives on his play, including Vezina voting, he was repeatedly rated among the very best in the game.
Joseph did not have a single season in his career where his All-Star voting share was higher than his Vezina voting share. The GMs always rated him higher than the writers did, and the most extreme example was during the 1998-99 season, when Joseph was the Vezina runner-up and actually received more first-place Vezina votes than eventual winner Dominik Hasek (!), yet finished just 4th in All-Star voting. Joseph was picked to play on Team Canada for three consecutive best-on-best tournaments, and began the tournament as the starter in two of them, despite playing in an era of strong goalie competition. Joseph was always a highly sought after free-agent and inked a series of lucrative deals, including signing for $8 million per year with Detroit in 2002 (the same amount the Red Wings were paying Hasek). Joseph was voted team MVP several times in both Edmonton and Toronto, and according to one source I found he was apparently a Lester B. Pearson finalist in 1998-99, which suggests that the other players around the league seemed to agree.
As I have argued many times before, NHL general managers are not always great at picking the best goalie in any given season, as they can be blinded by wins and shutouts like anyone else. However, the record shows that they are better than the writers at identifying overlooked goalies and rewarding goalies who play on weaker teams.