The Winnipeg Jets and their goalies could become a tale of two teams very, very quickly and it is going to be interesting to see how they handle the potential issue throughout the season. Goalies can be incredibly influential on games and can sometimes make or break their team’s season. So, where do the Jets stand when it comes to goaltending?
When it comes to Connor Hellebuyck, he a known quantity who is reliable and very, very good for the Jets. They should have no concerns over Hellebuyck as even if he has an off game or off week, he has always been able to bounce back just fine. That said, his backup is now a concern. In previous years, he has had Laurent Brossoit as a backup. Brossoit was not the best goalie, but he was reliable and a NHL goalie. The Jets could put him in net and know they could win.
The Jets new backup is Eric Comrie. Comrie is not a NHL goalie nor has he ever been. He was drafted with high potential, but he has never met it and this seems like setting him up for failure more than anything. Add to that the Jets will no longer have a reliable backup to play 15-20 games a year and this puts them in a bad spot. You need a reliable goalie for many reasons. You need to be able to rest your starter. You need to have someone step in if he gets sick or injured or misses time for personal reasons. You need someone who will not lose you games when they play. That goalie is not Comrie.
What were the Jets thinking when they went with Comrie as their backup? Probably that they could save some money on goaltending to upgrade the roster elsewhere, but how does that help them in the long-term when they are looking at a goalie who will inevitably lose them games which could lead to a worse record than they would have if they spent a bit more on their backup goalie this year.
The Jets have a lot going for them with their revamped defence and hopefully more balanced corps. It would be a shame to see it all go to waste because of a poor backup goalie that they cannot trust to give Connor Hellebuyck a break when needed. This could very well be the costliest $750 000 the Jets have spent.