According to a report from TSN, the Jets have made their decision on which goalie they will protect in June’s expansion draft.
It’s no surprise to Jets fans that the team will be looking for a new goaltender during the offseason, but it looks like that search will be postponed until after the expansion draft is over. The TSN column references a Winnipeg Sun article by Ken Wiebe which states that Connor Hellebuyck will get the protection nod despite having mixed results in net this past season.
Hellebuyck finished the season with a 26-19-4 record, a .907 save% and a 2.89 GAA to go along with four shutouts. While the results leave something to be desired the Jets are unwilling to risk losing the 24-year old former fifth-round pick to Vegas next month.
Since Winnipeg can only protect one goalie from being snagged in the expansion draft, it is highly unlikely that they will acquire another goaltender until after the dust has settled from next month’s expansion and entry drafts. Perhaps, they will look at free agent goaltenders like Brian Elliot or make a trade for an up and comer like Antti Raanta.
Protecting Hellebuyck will leave RFA goaltender, Michael Hutchinson exposed in the expansion draft and a possible depth option for the Golden Knights. It’s also worth noting that the Golden Knights could choose to select pending UFA Ondrej Pavelec if they wanted, though that move seems extremely unlikely.
HELLEBUYCK’S CAREER SO FAR
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