Hellebuyck gets big bucks from Jets
Connor Hellebuyck is cashing in after a breakout season that saw him emerge as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. The Winnipeg Jets announced Thursday they’ve signed Hellebuyck to a six-year, US$37million contract with an average annual value of $6.167 million. The 25-year-old from Commerce, Mich., was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie last season after appearing in a career-high 67 games, setting single-season franchise records for wins (44), shutouts (six), and save percentage (.924). “Helly has always been projected in our mind as a No.1 goaltender and the goaltender of the future for us,” Jets GM Tim Cheveldayoff said during a conference call. “We’re very very excited we were able to come to a long-term agreement for now and for the future. “Obviously the training and maturity that was in his game from the years prior to now is about becoming a pro.” Hellebuyck signed a one-year, $2.25-million deal with Winnipeg prior to last season. He posted a 9-8 record in this year’s playoffs with two shutouts, 2.36 goalsagainst average and .922 save percentage as the jets reached the Western Conference final. “This is exciting for many reasons,” Hellebuyck said. “But mainly because I love it here and I want to be part of this team. “I really believe this team has what it takes.” In 149 career NHL regular-season games, Hellebuyck has an 8341-14 record with 12 shutouts, a 2.55 GAA, and .917 save percentage. His 70 wins over the last two seasons are eighth most in the NHL. Hellebuyck was a restricted free agent and had filed for salary arbitration before signing his deal. He said his goal now is to prove he’s not a one-season wonder.