Hellebuyck has been touted as the Jets goalie of the future since his record smashing days at UMass Lowell. When he finally turned pro with the IceCaps, he was one of the lone bright spots during a rough year down in St. John's. Fans finally got to see with their own eyes why they should be excited for The Hellebuyck Show (trademark pending).
With the IceCaps packing up shop and heading back to Winnipeg as the newly ressurrected Moose, Hellebuyck was on his way to a repeat performance in year two before an injury to Ondrej Pavelec brought him up to the Jets at the end of November. He quickly snagged the starting job away from Michael Hutchinson and secured his first NHL shutout a month later against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It became pretty clear that despite his age and experience in the pros that Paul Maurice had a lot of confidence in Connor once he made his presence known by sticking him in net for nearly the entire months of both December and January. There were a handful of times during his tenure where he stole games for the Jets all on his own and there were games that the Jets lost but he still but up great numbers and was the only thing that kept them in the game.
He had a rough game here or there and his final game on February 11th against Boston saw him chased. When it was all said and done, he still posted the best numbers of all three goaltenders this year with a .918 SV% and a 2.34 GAA. This might be the best season to compare Hellebuyck to Hutchinson and Pavelec as they all played relatively the same amount of games and minutes and Connor beat both of them soundly.
There is not a doubt in my mind that Connor Hellebuyck is with the Winnipeg Jets this season. He will either be the starter or split the work load 50/50 with Pavelec. It would be absolute lunacy to send him back down to Moose for anymore seasoning. Not only because he doesn't need it, but because the Moose don't need him either. After returning to the Moose, Hellebuyck did not see a lot of time on the ice. This was due to the fact that while he was away, Eric Comrie took the starting job and refused to let go. Now, I did not get to see Comrie play at all this year, but from what I've been told, some believe he is progressing at the same rate as Hellebuyck, if not quicker. So if your the Jets, you might as well let Comrie keep the starting job with the Moose. If everything goes well, you could then have a tandem of Hellebuyck/Comrie in your net within the next year or two.
Let's end this review with a Haiku, shall we?
Connor is our king now
Pavelec's time is running short
Time to turn the page.