Photo credit:© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
It’s time to play Laurent Brossoit more
By Goose1 month ago
Be sure to check Betway to check out the latest Jets game day odds and bet on the NHL!We are over halfway through the season, and Connor Hellebuyck has been the best version of himself in the NHL. He hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a game since November 2nd when the Vegas Golden Knights scored four goals on 25 shots. That’s 38 straight games of three or fewer goals allowed, with only three goals against in just five games during the stretch.
I can’t just praise Hellebuyck; we need to acknowledge how great the Winnipeg Jets’ backup has been. Laurent Brossoit, the Jets’ backup, has been on a higher level than Hellebuyck when it comes to pure numbers. While playing only 12 games this season, Brossoit has a 7-3-2 record and hasn’t allowed three goals against since November 26th.
This season, he boasts a 2.07 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. In his last two seasons, Brossoit has only lost in regulation three times. You can point out that he’s only played 23 games in the last two seasons, but that’s not a lot of losing in the last two years.
You can make the argument that if you played the Vancouver Island native more, his numbers would even out if he played more regularly. His numbers would probably drop a little, but they probably wouldn’t be tremendously bad numbers. Even if he drops him to a .910 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average over 30 games, that’s a goaltender any team would want.
If you want to start to get into the deeper numbers on Brossoit, his expected goals against average of 2.54 his goals against average better than expected is .42. Brossoit is expected to be good and hes playing even better than what the numbers give him credit for.
I understand that Hellebuyck likes to play lots, but get him in fewer games. Let him rest for the most part through February and the first half of March. Get Hellebuyck ready for late March and early April. My suggestion for the final 35 games is that in the next 20 games, Brossoit starts in 15. Then for the final 15 games, have Hellebuyck play 10 of them. That gives the goaltenders a chance to rest before the postseason but can keep their skills sharper.
We have seen it where Hellebuyck is clearly burned out going into the playoffs. That shouldn’t even be a possibility this season with how much cushion the Jets have built for themselves through the first 47 games. The Jets have 11 points on the Nashville Predators, who are nine points back of the Jets and are just on the outside of the playoffs and have played three more games than the Jets.
Unless Hellebuyck is looking to win the Hart Trophy over the Stanley Cup, which isn’t like the guy, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have an over-the-midway-point-of-the-season break. The Jets have Brossoit for insurance purposes in the playoffs, but why not warm the guy up and let him feel good before he potentially gets used?
In reality, the Jets need 15 regulation wins to hit 95 points, which is what they needed to make the postseason last season. That’s only winning 42 percent of their remaining games.
I am very OK with Hellebuyck only playing every Saturday between now and March 9th and the Minnesota game on February 20th. This gives Hellebuyck the time to recharge his batteries.
The back half of March is a bit of a gauntlet where the Jets will play eight games in 14 nights while taking on the three New York teams, Edmonton Oilers, and Vegas Golden Knights. Hellebuyck can get sharp during those two weeks. If the Jets lock everything up, they should be playoff-bound by the end of March. There’s no reason to overdo it going into the first three weeks of April.
We can trust Brossoit to play some of the big opponents; he did it with Vegas last season and beat teams like the Oilers, Minnesota Wild, and LA Kings and kept them under three or fewer goals. This season he’s faced four tougher teams and has only lost to one of them, that being his former team, the Golden Knights.
Brossoit has shown he is in the elite conversation this season for backup goalies. If he were in any other market, he would probably be starting for them or be a 1B option. The Jets should treat him like a true 1B in the last big stretch of the season.
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