Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets emerged as a top goaltender in the league before NHL play was suspended on March 12th. In fact, many analysts included him in the shortlist of potential Vezina Trophy winners as the top netminder in the league for 2019-20. Hellebuyck says that would be nice, but he has bigger goals.
"It would be a great milestone and it would definitely be one of my goals achieved, but at the end of the day, what I truthfully want is the Stanley Cup and a chance to win it," Hellebuyck said, according to the Winnipeg Sun's Scott Billeck. "So anything that gets me closer to that, I would do for sure."
The Jets were expected by many to take a huge step back this season after losing some key players to free agency and trades, as well as Dustin Byfuglien, whose contract was terminated today. Despite that, the team remained playoff contenders, while Hellebuyck put together a hell of a season. He had a record of 31-21-5 alongside a .922 save percentage and 2.57 goals-against average when the NHL decided to suspend play.
"I think I came in with the right mindset," Hellebuyck said. "I was ready to prove myself. I had another year under my belt, so I had a little more experience. Not only that, I had this new chest pad that I finally had figured out. It took all training camp to really fine-tune some things. Once I finally had my trigger, which I'm going to keep as a secret for me, once I had that figured out, things were falling into place."
When play was halted, Winnipeg was sitting in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference.