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Player Review: Connor Hellebuyck

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It wasn’t a Vezina caliber year for the Jets’ starter.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a career year season in 2017-18 in which he was nominated for the Vezina Trophy, expectations were sky high for Connor Hellebuyck entering the 2018-19 Winnipeg Jets campaign.

Whether it was the weight of those expectations, or the weight of the new goalie pads, or something else, Hellebuyck’s numbers did not manage to hit those marks he had previously, and the netminder struggled at times.

Connor Hellebuyck 2018/19 Regular Season Stats

Regular Season Name GP Min GA GAA SA SVS SV% W L OTL/SOL SO 5v5SA 5v5Svs 5v5SV% PP SA PP Svs PP Sv% SH SA SH Svs SH Sv%
Regular Season Name GP Min GA GAA SA SVS SV% W L OTL/SOL SO 5v5SA 5v5Svs 5v5SV% PP SA PP Svs PP Sv% SH SA SH Svs SH Sv%
Regular Season Connor Hellebuyck 63 3,705 179 2.90 2,051 1,872 0.913 34 23 3 2 1,675 1,541 0.920 314 274 0.873 62 57 0.919
NHL Rank (>19GP) 3rd 3rd 1st (60th) 35th 1st 1st 26th 7th 9th 43rd 38th 2nd 2nd 31st 2nd 2nd 28th 4th 4th 33rd

No goalie in the NHL faced more shots or allowed more goals than Connor Hellebuyck last year, as he played a little over 75% of the total minutes that Jets goalies were on the ice. Whether fatigue factored in or not is up for debate, but only managed a quality start in 45.2% of his efforts, compared to 60.9% last year (and Laurent Brossoit’s 63.2%).

He was 31st in the league in 5v5 Sv%, and 26th in overall Sv%. I can say “well, he got overworked and got tired as the season went on, which is why his numbers are low”, but he struggled right out of the gate, posting a .907 in October and a .900 in November. He was at his best in the month of March, posting a .926 and picking up his two shutouts for the season.

In the playoffs, he matched his season save percentage, putting up another .913 as the Jets were eliminated in six games, with Hellebuyck seeing all of the action for the Jets.

Hellebuyck has proven he can do better, as 2017/18 showed, so it’s not the end of the world for him. How he’ll do next year with a defence that swapped Jacob Trouba for Neal Pionk in front of him remains to be seen, but as he’s signed for good money for the next five seasons, there’s no reason to assume anybody else will be the starting goal on opening night 2019/20.