The Winnipeg Jets announced the recalling of rookie netminder sensation, Connor Hellebuyck, from the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL.
The Jets have clinched playoffs while the IceCaps have been eliminated from contention. With these factors, the Jets have decided to bring up the 21-year-old to the big leagues.
Check out more after the jump.
The Jets have only one more NHL game in the regular season remaining and have guaranteed the playoffs and their position. Meanwhile, the IceCaps have been mathematically eliminated and still have games to play. This gives the organization an opportunity to give Hellebuyck some NHL experience –even if there is no game time with him backing up Michael Hutchinson– while also giving Eric Comrie some pro-practice for next season.
Hellebuyck has had quite the rookie season.
Hellebuyck is only one year removed from leaving the NCAA, winning the inaugural Mike Richter award, and setting the NCAA career save percentage record. He has continued his strong play right into the AHL.
The 2012 fifth round pick played 58 games in his rookie season, more than any other goalie. The next closest are Jean-Francois Berube and Laurent Brossoit, both at 49 games played.
Hellebuyck saved 1666 of 1809 shots, posting a 0.921 save percentage, which is good enough for 10th in the entire AHL and third for all rookies. This is despite playing a heavy load as a pro-level freshman, which includes multiple back-to-back situations due to the IceCaps unique schedule from their unique geographic location.
Here is Hellebuyck compared to the other Winnipeg Jets goaltenders:
Ondrej Pavelec never once posted a save percentage in the AHL regular season above 0.920. Michael Hutchinson in the AHL twice has posted numbers above that line and twice below.
No matter which way you cut it, a 0.921 save percentage is pretty impressive.