Connor Hellebuyck could easily get 60 starts for the Winnipeg Jets in 2019-20. The native of Commerce, MI has a record of four wins and three losses in seven starts with an excellent goals against average of 2.29 and save percentage of .929.
Hellebuyck’s finest performance of the season was his last game, a 1-0 shootout win over the red hot Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. The Oilers were unable to beat Hellebuyck for a full 65 minutes and then in the shootout, as Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could not get the puck past the Jets netminder on breakaways.
Hellebuyck meanwhile had 28 saves. The Oilers had seven shots in the first period, eight shots in the second period, nine shots in the third period and four shots in overtime. The extra period between the third period and the shootout was filled with great opportunities on both teams.
In an interesting twist, Oilers goaltender Mike Smith also got a shutout as he made 23 saves, but due to the fact the Oilers did not win the game, he picked up the loss. Hellebuyck now has 15 career shutouts (all with Winnipeg), while Smith now has 39 career shutouts.
As the NHL regular season progresses, it is safe to say Hellebuyck is the clear no. 1 goalkeeper for Winnipeg. The Jets backup, Laurent Brossoit does have one win in three games, but has a poor goals against average of 4.86 and an equally poor save percentage of .750.
It should be noted that the Jets do not have the same depth on their defense this season compared to last season. In the offseason, Winnipeg lost Tyler Myers of Houston, TX to the Vancouver Canucks via free agency, traded Jacob Trouba of Rochester, MI to the New York Rangers and are on the verge of losing assistant captain Dustin Byfuglien of Minneapolis, MN, who is considering retirement.
This lack of defensive depth will put added pressure on Hellebuyck and Brossoit. If the first 10 games is any indication, the Jets are better suited to give Hellebuyck the majority of starts.