A Strange Year for Jets' Hellebuyck
By Patrick Hoffman
It was a strange season for the Winnipeg Jets.
They were inconsistent throughout the season and yet finished tenth in the league in points. With that said, they got bounced from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the first round against the St. Louis Blues in six games.
It was not supposed to be this way for the Jets. After making it to the Western Conference Finals last season, they were considered as Cup contenders coming into this season.
Unfortunately, it did not work out that way and now the team has to think about what went wrong and what caused them to get knocked out so early in the postseason.
In my opinion, I believe that the performance of their starting goaltender, Connor Hellebuyck was part of the problem. In fact, I think his performance all year long was concerning for this hockey club.
In the regular season, Hellebuyck was not the same guy he was last season when he was one of the best goalies in the league. This year, he was 34-23-3 with a 2.90 goals-against average, a .913 save percentage and two shutouts.
Last year, Hellebuyck was 44-11-9 with a 2.36 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and six shutouts. He also ended up being a Vezina Trophy finalist as the league's best numbers.
Clearly, something was different this year. He allowed a lot more goals, got beat on shots he normally stopped with regularity last season, and he did not play with the same amount of confidence he had last year.
Now, his postseason numbers this year were not too bad. He finished with a 2,67 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. Unfortunately, he allowed some soft goals at the wrong time and it ended up hurting his club.
It was a weird season for the 25-year-old masked man. Hopefully for the Jets, the Hellebuyck that starred for the club in the 2017-18 season will return to the pipes next year.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.