Should the Jets play Brossoit?
Short answer: yes.
Is now a good time for the Winnipeg Jets to give goalie Laurent Brossoit more starts?
Jets’ first slump of the season: Having just accumulated seven straight losses, the Winnipeg Jets are currently stuck in a rut. According to Coach Paul Maurice, “I think we’re tight right now. I think we’re fighting the puck right now — as you do when you get into these situations. And we’ve got to get a good feeling going to get ourselves some confidence back to make those simpler plays happen for us.”
Leaning on Hellebuyck: At the moment, goalie Connor Hellebuyck leads the league with 41 Games Played (GP) for the Jets, two ahead of the next closest goaltender (Tampa Bay Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy at 39 GP). While Hellebuyck is a workhorse for the Jets and 2019-20’s NHL Vezina Trophy winner, this may seem like too many games in a shortened season. However, if you examine the numbers, it’s only about 21 minutes more than Vasilevskiy (who, coincidentally, is 2018-19’s Vezina winner); that is, what has been expected of Hellebuyck thus far is what is expected of a top starter in the league.
Stars are aligning to play Brossoit more: The team is struggling, Hellebuyck has a 0.860 Save Percentage (SV%) during the slump, and the Stanley Cup playoffs are on the horizon. Is the right decision to let Hellebuyck play his way out of the losing streak for the sake of his confidence and to maintain his routine? Should the Jets focus on getting goalie Laurent Brossoit (6 Wins, 5 Losses, .920 SV%) in optimal game shape in case they need him during the playoffs? Or, should the plan be something in-between? Since Hellebuyck doesn’t seem to lack the slightest bit of confidence and essentially all teams will be somewhat rusty from having at least five days off (but likely more) before the start of the playoffs, now appears to be the right time to get Brossoit prepared.
Which games should the Jets play Brossoit? Having started at least twice against four of the six teams in the Canadian Division (Scotia North), it doesn’t appear as though the Jets are sheltering Brossoit from any of their division foes. After losing to the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on May 3, the Jets now have five games remaining. Assuming there isn’t an apocalyptic end to the season for the team, my expectation (or hope) is that the Jets’ tandem will alternate through the five remaining games. That way, both goalies can get into a rhythm and be ready for a deep playoff run.
Insider Updates & Analysis
Update: Ryan Miller, the winningest U.S.-born goalie in NHL history, announced his retirement this week. He’s expected to play his last game in Minnesota Friday.
A Question for the Peanut Gallery
Do you think the Jets should play Brossoit a few games or ride Hellebuyck straight to the playoffs?