As much fun as the Stanley Cup playoffs are, the offseason provides excitement. There is so much buzz going around the league as many teams plan for next season. One Canadian team has made the headlines in the rumour mill. However, another has joined in on the fun. The Winnipeg Jets are in for an interesting offseason. A Connor Hellebuyck trade could be on the horizon.
Connor Hellebuyck Could Be On The Move
It seems like a lifetime ago Paul Maurice stepped down because he felt the team needed a new voice. And while that may have been true, Winnipeg is at home while Maurice is four wins away from the Stanley Cup Final. After a disappointing first-round exit in round one, the club is in for a long offseason. Head Coach Rich Bowness let the world know of his displeasure regarding this club. There are plenty of names rumoured to be on the trade block such as Mark Scheifele and Pierre Luc Dubois. But a Connor Hellebuyck trade would send shockwaves through the hockey world. There was a point where a contract could come, but now may not be the case.
What A Potential Move Looks Like
Connor Hellebuyck states that he isn’t interested in a rebuild situation. Hellebuyck has one year left on his contract.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 29, 2023
A Connor Hellebuyck trade sounds likely. More likely than not, but it is something he may prefer. With a slew of changes possibly coming, he has started that he does not want to be part of a rebuild. So with that being said, where are logical landing spots for the veteran netminder? Keep in mind, he has one year left on his current contract.
This makes sense. Yes, Vitek Vanecek signed a three-year contract. However, he had a horrible playoff run. Of all qualifying goaltenders, he had the worst goals saved above expected. Not to mention, he got yanked for Akira Schmid, who shut the door and helped secure a first-round victory. Even though the window just cracked open, this Devils team can challenge for the Stanley Cup. They have a youthful core in Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Timo Meier. Not to mention Luke Hughes will be full-time next season. A young team took the next steps forward. A true number-one goalie could be the difference in winning a championship. The days of being a basement dweller are over, and a team like this could entice Hellebuyck.
Another up-and-coming team in the Buffalo Sabres could entice Hellebuyck. They did not make the playoffs, but this team is on the rise to doing great things. This club has not had a goaltender since Ryan Miller. That was a very long time ago. This season they rode 40-year-old Craig Anderson. They did get a spark late in the year with promising prospect Devon Levi. But this team has starved for good goaltending. With the core of Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch, Jeff Skinner, and Dylan Cozens locked up for the foreseeable future, the future is bright. There won’t be a rebuild (hopefully not for the fans sanity) anytime soon. Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power bring promise to the back end as well. It may not be as enticing as New Jersey, but playing meaningful hockey is not without question in Buffalo.
Main Photo: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports