The Winnipeg Jets were awful against the Montreal Canadiens.
Connor Hellebuyck was fighting the puck.
At only 23 years-old, Connor Hellebuyck is learning what it takes to be a number one goalie. He isn’t perfect, but he’s showing to be a lot more capable than Ondrej Pavelec. Pavelec has only played one season where he’s had a save percentage higher than .914 in the NHL. Not particularly brilliant.
Last season, Hellebuyck showed his brilliance with a .918 save percentage in just 26 games. His goals against average? 2.34.
The Winnipeg Jets are a young team. Nik Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, Patrik Laine, and Connor Hellebuyck is part of the main, young core. Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, and Bryan Little are the supporting cast. Marko Dano is injured (so is Myers and Laine), and a team that has an average age of 26.4 hasn’t been particularly consistent.
In their game against the Habs, the Jets were caught chasing, with Montreal beating Winnipeg to puck battles. The game showed how good the Jets offence is, but their defence was atrocious.
A huge point of concern that should be taken is the idea that Hellebuyck isn’t good enough. HE’S ONLY 23 YEARS OLD! It takes goalies time to develop, and a .910 save percentage ain’t too shabby on a defensively porous team. If the Jets want to recall Pavelec, the other move should be sending Michael Hutchinson to the minors. Hutchinson has looked clumsy in games that he’s started, and having Pavelec-Hutchinson would probably give the Jets a better chance at winning games on a more consistent basis.
The Jets’ woes hasn’t been the struggles of Connor Hellebuyck. He might not be stopping the pucks that he should be, but his three shutouts says something about his abilities.
Believe in Hellebuyck. Expect consistent play from the Jets players themselves. It’s a young team. Their game against the Habs is huge for their growth going forward.
Here are two links from both JetsNation and Arctic Ice Hockey: