Are there enough superlatives to say about Connor Hellebuyck? He is the Winnipeg Jets best player and he gives them a chance to win every single game they play which was an acheivement last season with the defence the Jets played every night. So how important is Hellebuyck and how good was his last season? The answer is very important and robbed of a Vezina nomination.
Hellebuyck’s stats, .916 regular season save percentage, was not as good as it was when he won the Vezina (.922), but stats do not tell the whole story and with goalies they tell us less of the story. You can tell more about a goalie based on his even-strength save percentage, but again that does not tell the whole story about his play and when it comes to Hellebuyck it is the untold parts that make him so valuable to the Jets.
Hellebuyck is a rock in the middle of rapids. He is unmoving when it comes to the Jets play. In a sea of chaos, he is the calm. Without Hellebuyck there would be no playoffs; no win against the Edmonton Oilers. Hellebuyck is ultimately the one player that the Jets cannot afford to lose. But how does that impact how he is viewed as a player.
Ultimately Hellebuyck is the reason the Jets are the team they are. He wins them games they should lose on a consistent basis. He was not as spectacular this past season as he was in 2019-2020, but he was still excellent and sometimes that should be enough.