A year ago, there were all kinds of doubts that Connor Hellebuyck had a future with the Winnipeg Jets, let alone his status as the Jets number one goal. A calendar year and one massive breakout season later, and Hellebuyck has cashed in with a bit six year deal worth 37 million that carries an AAV(Average Annual Value) of $6.167 million.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) July 12, 2018
Hellebuyck played in 67 games last season, posting a 44-11-9 record with a .924 save percentage. His 44 wins set a record for most wins in a single season by an American born goaltender. He also posted six shutouts which was a team record and ended up being nominated for the Vezina Trophy and was named to the NHL’s Second all-star team.
In the playoffs he had a 9-8 record with a .922 save percentage with two shutouts as he helped lead the club to not only their first ever playoff victory and series wins in franchise history, but got all the way to the Western Conference final.
The 25 year old Hellebuyck was a fifth round pick of the Jets in the 2012 draft. He made his debut with the club during the 2015-16 season.
After a particularly rough 2016-17 season, there were at best concerns that Hellebuyck may have still been a few years away from being ready to assume full number one goalie status with the Jets and at worst, doubts that he had any kind of future with the Jets at all. The Jets erred on the side of caution a year ago by singing him to a one year deal.
Hellebuyck responded to the criticism, doubt and the poor season by shaking up his off-season routine. A sluggish start by Steve Mason that was further brought down by injuries helped open the door for Hellebuyck to get a chance to run with the starters role and he never looked back.