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Reviewing The Winnipeg Jets In October: Goaltending

This is part three of our mini series where we are reviewing the Jets’ performance in the month of October. We previewed the offensive struggles first, followed by the defensive play. Today we will discuss the performance of the netminders as both Hellebuyck and Brossoit have seen action in the first few weeks. 

The Winnipeg Jets came into the season with a clear plan for the goaltenders. With Hellebuyck coming off a Vezina-like season, it was clear that the starting job was firmly in his grasp. Brossoit’s role was purely as a backup to come in during back to backs and other hectic times. Now that both goalies have multiple games under their belt, let’s take a look at how they have fared so far.

Laurent Brossoit

Maybe the biggest surprise in the early going has been the sensational play of Laurent Brossoit. Many people were skeptical that Brossoit offered an improvement over what the Jets have had in the last few seasons. Brossoit was seen as a sub-par goalie at the NHL level after a few rough seasons in Edmonton.

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Even though some people had lost faith in Brossoit, he had an excellent camp and was ready to hit the ground running. The excellence continued as Brossoit had his first start on October 14 against Carolina. He was fantastic in that game, stopping 42 of 43 shots and leading the Jets to a 3-1 victory.

Brossoit’s second start came against the Coyotes on October 20. He played well once again stopping 42 of 45 shots and began to garner some attention for his strong play.

The first win was seen as potentially a fluke. Any goalie can play well with such a small sample size so it was important for Brossoit to play well in his second game. After that, Brossoit earned another start on October 26 in the first half of a back to back.

Brossoit made it three for three as he picked up his third straight victory, this time over the Detroit Red Wings.

This fantastic play has lead to some great stats to begin the year.

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Brossoit has a sensational .957 SV% and a 1.67 GAA. This save percentage puts him first in the league among goalies who have played three games or more. Not only do the base stats look great, but Brossoit’s advanced stats look strong as well. According to Natural Stat Trick, Brossoit is fifth in the NHL with 5.59 goals saved above average. This means that he has allowed roughly five or six fewer goals than what an average goalie would expect to allow.

Corsica’s delta save percentage (dSv%) at five on five puts Brossoit 8th in the league at 2.93. This means that Brossoit’s actual SV% is higher than his expected SV% (.9545-.9252). These are remarkable numbers for a player who many thought wouldn’t ever make it in the NHL.

Lastly, and most importantly, remember the sample size.

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Even though Brossoit has been great to start the season, many people are changing their expectations after three games. It takes much more than that to determine a players true talent level. Expect for the wild swings to occur throughout the season as Brossoit rides the waves of the good and bad.

This isn’t to say Brossoit is going to fail this year, it just means that there will be times where he can’t seem to catch a break and misses a few easy saves. It’s inevitable given the nature of the position and what we know about goaltending.

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Connor Hellebuyck

It seems that Brossoit has stole the limelight in the early going as Connor Hellebuyck has struggled to find consistency. It’s been a tough start for Hellebuyck after being so consistent for all of last season. Hellbuyck started the year with a great performance in St. Louis where he stopped 41 of 42 shots and the Jets picked up their first win.

From there it’s been a struggle as Hellebuyck has been hit and miss. The goals per game allowed by Hellebuyck since the start of the year are as follows: 1, 5, 1, 3, 5, 1, 4, 4, 3. These numbers are all over the place and it’s evident when looking at the stats.

Hellebuyck’s SV% is a measly .907 while his GAA is 3.00. The advanced numbers don’t help either as he ranks 30th among goals with over three games played with a goals saved above average of -0.53. Yes, the stat can be negative. This means that Hellebuyck has let in half a goal more than an average goalie would have through the first nine games.

As far as Hellebuyck’s delta save percentage, he ranks 30th out of the 35 goalies that have 200 minutes at five on five this year. In case you couldn’t guess, Hellebuyck’s dSv% is also a negative number at -1.35. Hellebuyck has a .9024 SV% at five on five and he should have a .9159 given the quality of shots he has faced.

So the numbers don’t look good for Hellebuyck. What now?

Some people are ready to jump ship and declare Hellebuyck to be broken. Others are convinced that Hellebuyck will make his way back to the upper echelon by year’s end.

Once again, sample size is king. Hellebuyck is a really good goaltender. He’s played poorly in a few games and he’s played solid in others. Overall, they have balanced each other out and Hellebuyck’s been slightly below average to start the season.

It’s not too worrisome because he will likely figure it out as the season progresses. Some of the other premier netminders have struggled out of the gate as well so I think Hellebuyck deserves some patience by the fanbase. You could also argue that the Jets haven’t given him much to work with as both the offense and defense have been sub-par in the early going.

It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Jets’ goalies so far. While Brossoit has been exceeding all expectations, Hellebuyck is struggling to live up to the lofty goals from last year. As we already determined, the Jets appear to be slightly off their game to start the year and Hellebuyck has fallen into that same fate.

There you have it, a synopsis on the month of October in regards to the Winnipeg Jets’ goaltending. Let us know your thoughts. Are the goalies getting lucky or unlucky? Just not playing well? We want to hear from you!

  • JN

    Hellebuyck has been a bit of a disappointment but I think the real problem is the defense and not enough help from the forwards defensive play. Sadly Laine has been a disappointment on both offense and his defensive play but the year is young.