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Goaltending remains a big problem for the Winnipeg Jets

From Sportsnet's Kristina Rutherford:

Connor Hellebuyck was hours away from giving up five goals on 15 shots when Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice considered the position his young goaltender was in as his team fights for its playoff life.

“You’re in a Canadian market and you’re playing goal,” Maurice said ahead of a 7-4 drubbing at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday. “Your options are stellar or in trouble.”

Well, Hellebuyck has been a bit of both.

The 23-year-old from Michigan has started 12 straight games for the Jets, and in the month of March alone, we’ve seen the guy they call “Helly” post a shutout, come seconds away from another, and, most recently, get the hook.

As Maurice put it, “he’s had his ups and downs.”

Such has been the case in the Jets’ crease for much of this season. Hellebuyck has shown himself to be the best option available, with 22 wins in 48 starts, a 2.83 GAA, and four shutouts. He’s also failed to finish seven games he’s started.

Backup Michael Hutchinson is 4-11 with a 3.24 GAA, and veteran Ondrej Pavelec, who’s likely done for the season following recent knee surgery, was only called up in January after Hellebuyck had a couple nightmarish starts. Pavelec’s 4-4 record with a 3.55 GAA and .888 save percentage didn’t exactly win him the starting role back, anyway.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the offensively gifted Jets are going to have even a shot at making the playoffs—a possibility that keeps slipping further out of grasp—they need either Hellebuyck or Hutchinson to catch fire.

Continued

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: paul+maurice, winnipeg+jets

Comments

Primis's avatar

I think it’s time for fans and NHL organizations alike to recalibrate how we view goalies.

Unless something drastically changes, there are no “elite” goaltenders of yesteryear anymore.

I keep comparing them, but that’s because the comparison is a very good one.  NHL goalies are the same as NFL running backs:  they’re cogs you plug in and out, you should never commit to them long-term, and you should not count on them to make or break your team’s success.

If you get two straight really good years out of a starting NHL goalie, you’re doing very well.

The game has changed too much though to try to ride a particular goalie.

Posted by Primis on 03/10/17 at 12:54 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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