The first class puck stopper: Connor Hellebuyck Jets Nation year in review

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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Where would the Winnipeg Jets be today without Connor Hellebuyck? Welcome back to another edition of the Jets Nation year in review series. Yesterday, I looked at Mark Scheifele and Neal Pionk, and today I’m going to kick things off by looking at the starting goalie for your Jets, Connor Hellebuyck. I’ll be looking at the season that Hellebuyck had and then looking a little ahead to next season to give some insights into what the 2024-25 season could be like for Hellebuyck.
Connor Hellebuyck continued to prove that he is among the elite of elite goaltenders in the NHL this season. The 30, soon to be 31-year old from Commerce, Michigan is a former 5th round, 130th overall steal in the 2012 NHL entry draft. The 2023-24 season was Hellebuyck’s 8th full season with the Jets and his numbers this year justify why he was again nominated for (and will likely win) the Vezina trophy, awarded to the league’s best goaltender in the regular season.
In 60 games played, Hellebuyck had a 2.39 goals against average, which is the 2nd lowest average of his career in a full season aside from the 2.36 average he had in 2017-18. His 37 wins also ties him for his 2nd best winning season, and he also posted a sparkling .921 save percentage. Hellebuyck, combined with Jets backup Laurent Brossoit, allowed a league minimum 199 goals this season. This accomplishment earned the duo the William Jennings award, but unfortunately Brossoit will not have his name on the trophy because he did not start in enough games.
The playoffs were a different story for Hellebuyck this season. In the 5 game 1st round series lost to the Colorado Avalanche, Hellebuyck was not his usual self in net. Perhaps the team in front of him didn’t help him out enough, but his numbers did not look good overall. Hellebuyck went 1-4 with a .870 save percentage and a goals against average just north of 5 per game. The playoffs were a big talking point for Hellebuyck at the Jets season-ending media availability, but Hellebuyck said he felt like he was playing some of his best hockey in net despite the outcome not matching his internal performance levels. If you want to read more on what Hellebuyck thought, check out my article discussing his season-ending media availability.
Aside from his recent playoff performances from the last few seasons, I think you still know just how good of a goalie Connor Hellebuyck really is overall. The former Vezina trophy winner is still a goalie that goes out there every night and gives the Winnipeg Jets a chance to win the game. It’s very rare that Hellebuyck has an “off-night” in net, but even when he does there’s still a chance that the Jets can make it up to him by scoring more goals. Hellebuyck simply has all the tools that the best goalies in the league seem to share. He’s got the size, he’s good at tracking the puck, he makes those big saves when he needs to, and he can play 60+ games a season with his great work ethic and durability.
Taking a look at Hellebuyck’s contract now, and he’s in the final season of his 6 year deal, prior to his newly signed contract extension kicking in next season. The last off-season people were questioning the futures of Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck due to some uncertainty with the Jets direction as a team. However, they both silenced any worries from the fans, signing matching 7 year, 59.5 million dollar contract extensions before the 2023-24 season began. At an average annual salary of 8.5 million per year, Hellebuyck should continue to provide great value to the Jets for the majority, if not, the entirety of his contract extension.
Hellebuyck will be going no where any time soon, and will be under contract with the Jets until he is nearly 39, at the end of his career. Looking ahead to next season, I would suspect another Vezina-caliber season from the Jets star netminder. I know that with goalies it’s a bit tougher to predict their progression paths, but Hellebuyck has all the consistency you’d ever need from a #1 goalie. If Hellebuyck does in fact win the Vezina at the award show in Vegas this off-season, he’ll be looking to go for Vezina #3 in the 2024-25 season. All I can say is get ready for another great few seasons ahead for Connor Hellebuyck, a first class stopper of pucks. You can never underestimate the power of having a top 5 (probably a top 3 if we’re being honest here) goalie on your team, so as long as Hellebuyck stays at his top form, the Jets will always have a chance to compete in the National Hockey League.


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