The 1994-95 NHL regular season was very unusual. A lengthy lockout shortened the schedule to just 48 games per team, and to make the scheduling work every team only played against opponents within their own conference. The condensed schedule also gave teams fewer off-days, meaning they had less of an opportunity to catch up with the goings-on around the rest of the league.
The short season made it tough for all awards voters to identify the league's best, but it had to have been especially difficult for the league's general managers required to vote on the 1995 Vezina. Many of them would not have seen much at all of the other conference, and likely would only have seen the best goalies in their own division 3-4 times. Based on this I expect that 1994-95 was probably the season where GMs were most likely to rely on statistics when filling out their award ballots.
If that's true, then looking at the voting results should give some insight on how general managers rate goalies based on their performance numbers (the full Vezina ranking can be found here). How did they fare? In my opinion, not very well. Most of them voted for Dominik Hasek, but that shouldn't have been a very difficult choice at all given that Hasek was the defending Vezina winner and led the league in GAA, shutouts and of course save percentage, where he crushed the field by .013. The other rankings were less clear, and some of the choices left something to be desired.
In particular, there were three voters that seem to have completely failed the test, the trio of league decision-makers who rated Mike Vernon as the best goalie in the league.
Compare the stats:
Vernon: 19-6-4, 2.52, .893, 1 SO
Hasek: 19-14-7, 2.11, .930, 5 SO
I really hope those were Western Conference GMs who just saw Vernon really good against their own teams and didn't feel comfortable ranking Eastern goalies that they hadn't seen play. Even in that event they still made a very poor decision, but it would have been completely embarrassing for them if they actually looked at everyone's numbers and decided that Vernon had the best season based on wins and losses.
Detroit had a terrific team as usual that season, with a defensive unit led by Nicklas Lidstrom, Paul Coffey, Slava Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov, plus their usual strong group of forwards. Backup Chris Osgood actually had better numbers than Vernon (14-5-0, 2.26, .917). On the other hand, when Hasek wasn't in net Buffalo's goaltending numbers were 3-5-0, 3.86, .864.
Any given shot was 67% more likely to go in against Vernon than against Hasek. Vernon allowed 3.21 goals per 30 shots against compared to Hasek's 2.10. If you were to swap Vernon's goal support in Detroit with Buffalo's goalscoring during Hasek's first 30 games of the season (excluding one short relief appearance), it would have had a dramatic effect on the records of both goalies. Vernon would have had a losing record at 11-15-4, while Hasek would have improved to a spectacular 22-3-5. And that's based on raw goals against without even taking into account the fact that Vernon faced nearly 7 fewer shots against per game.
It wasn't even remotely close, that's the point I'm trying to make.
Looking at the Vezina votes overall, they ended up being split around a number of goalies, which was perhaps to be expected given the peculiar circumstances. In addition to Hasek and Vernon five other goalies received at least one first place vote, only two of whom ended up in the top 10 in save percentage, and 15 goalies ended up with at least one vote. No other season has ever seen more different goalies get named on Vezina ballots than 1994-95.
If you remove Hasek from the sample, since he was so obviously the best goalie that even a voter who never saw him play and was just going by traditional numbers like GAA or shutouts should still have been able to figure out that the Dominator was the most deserving, here are the correlations between the Vezina voting and other statistics among all other goalies with 20+ games played that season:
Win Percentage: .589
Save Percentage: .290
That makes it seem pretty apparent that most early '90s NHL general managers rated goalies based on wins and the strength of the defence in front of them. That's scary stuff, and is yet another reminder that we should be cautious when using historical Vezina voting results to rank goalies.