One of the more astonishing -in a very positive way we might add – stories this past season for the Jets was the play of Laurent Brossoit who managed to escape hockey goalie purgatory in Edmonton and prove pretty much everyone wrong with outstanding play that helped bail the club out of goalie woes early in the season and stayed fairly consistent the entire year.
#30 – GOALTENDER
6’3″ / 204 lbs / Age: 26
This past season was the first and only season of a one year, $650,000 deal signed on July 1, 2018. Brossoit will be a restricted free agent as of July 1, 2019 (Source: NHLNumbers.com)
PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Let’s start with going over fan reaction to the Jets signing him back on July 1, 2018….
— Sean Currie (@seanroofus) July 1, 2018
— The Real McCoy (@59ChevImpala) July 1, 2018
— MBGreen (@MBGreen_JO) July 1, 2018
— Pep (@PepsiJets) July 1, 2018
how is that an improvement over Comrie?
— Doug Reimer (@dpreimer) July 1, 2018
— Jon Astrope (@jonnyonetime) July 1, 2018
What a terrible signing, really starting to wonder about the front office of the organization
— Jason Bodnarchuk (@BodnarchukJason) July 1, 2018
Seriously? That is supposed to be upgrade to Hutch.????
— Dave Doleman (@ddoleman87) July 1, 2018
To be fair to all these people, Laurent’s time with the Edmonton Oilers didn’t exactly scream “capable NHL backup goalie” when the Jets really needed one to take the load off of Connor Hellebuyck whom it can be argued suffered a little bit of burnout by the time he got through a league leading 67 regular season games played and 17 more playoff games. Even we at the time of the signing wondered if it would work out and felt at the very least it was worth taking a chance, but to not be surprised if the Jets have to look to the early season waiver wire.
But then the season started and in his first start – a 3-1 victory at home against the Carolina Hurricanes – opened a lot of eyes and almost instantly gave hope to a fan base that had saw Hellebuyck struggle early on in the season.
All Laurent Brossoit did over the next three and a half months was win 10 of his 11 starts. The game he didn’t win was a 2-1, 31 save shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Some of the highlights from that run of games?
A 42 save performance in his second Jets start against the Arizona Coyotes. There was a 36 save victory on the road in New Jersey to start the month of December. He picked a 43 save victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in January.
He also had a 40 save shutout of the Vancouver Canucks just before the Christmas Break with family and friends in attendance.
His stellar play won fans over and in true hockey-fan fashion, the topic of him getting more starts – or even outright assuming the number one role from Connor Hellebuyck – became a bit of a topic of discussion.
Brossoit did struggle down the stretch, not so coincidentally at about the same time as the team in front of him struggled and the defense got extra careless, but he did win his three of his last four starts of the regular season, the fourth unfortunately saw an early second period exit as he suffered a hamstring injury that essential ended his season.
Unless there was outright disaster – like an injury to Hellebuyck – and considering he was still recovering from injury himself, there was never really a chance for Laurent to get into the net for the Jets in the playoffs. There may have been some talk of putting him in after a very poor game two outing by Connor, but if nothing else Laurent should have at least taken it as a complement that fans, media and the team could all at least consider him and not outright dismiss it as a poor option. Considering where he was at a year earlier after a horrible season with Edmonton, it was a sign of some tremendous personal redemption.
WHAT OILERSNATION SAID A YEAR AGO
Although Brossoit started out strong, his inability to maintain NHL numbers while up with the big club was either an ultimate on-ice shortcoming or a loss of confidence with the team, and a change of scenery was likely the only way to get him back to where he could be in the case of the latter. For the team, holding on desperately to a young prospect who was only continuing to flounder wasn’t going to go well in the long run.
The Jets have a lot of decisions to make about their roster this summer and how they will manage the salary cap issues they have, part of that will no doubt involve a raise that is due to and well earned by Brossoit. How much and for how long is up for some debate but it might not be out of question that Brossoit gets another one year deal. Winnipeg has a bit of a depth at the goalie position with Hellebuyck for sure the team’s number one guy and Brossoit – if the Jets bring him back – locked in at number two.
Where things might get interesting is how the club handles Eric Comrie who once upon a time was the heir apparent to the Jets starter job but hasn’t been able to truly prove himself yet, as well as Mikhail Berdin who had a pretty good season as he worked his way up the organizational depth chart. Could the Jets trade one of those two goalies, or even sell high on Brossoit and take another leap of faith on an unproven goalie as they did last year?
If the Jets are wise, the smart move should be to bring back Brossoit for another season and let him get a few more starts than he had this year.