NHL: Key Players For Western Conference Playoff Teams

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(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets – Connor Hellebuyck

In the offseason, the Winnipeg Jets’ defense has a mass exodus. Losing big names like Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba, and Tyler Myers. It seemed like the team was doomed and then Connor Hellebuyck decided to have one of the best seasons of his career. This season is almost as good as 2017-18 where he finished second in the Vezina voting.

With so many new and young faces on defense, Hellebuyck has done a great job of stabilizing the back end and keeping the Jets relevant when it seemed like they were going to go the other way. With the dynamic offense Winnipeg has, having a player like Hellebuyck allows the forwards to try different things as they know that he will be there to bail them out.

After a poor December, he has turned it around and in entire the month of January he did not give up more than two goals a game and had a .942 save percentage. With so many key defensemen gone, the Jets aren’t exactly the most defensively sound team in the NHL.

Their 1872 shots allowed is third-most in the league but luckily for Winnipeg, Hellebuyck does better when facing 25+ shots a night. His last three wins came when the Jets allowed more than 25 shots on net and the 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues came when he stopped 38 of 40 thrown his way. If the Jets make it to the playoffs, it will be because Hellebuyck willed them into it.

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