NHL goaltender Connor Hellebuyck said he would listen to what Winnipeg Jets’ GM Kevin Cheveldayoff had to say when the two finally speak, but the writing is on the wall in Winnipeg where the former Vezina Trophy winner is probably not sticking around long-term. After a disappointing finish to their season — one in which the head coach called out the best players on the team for showing no pride and having no pushback against the Vegas Golden Knights — the Jets stars, Hellebuyck among them, talked to the media on Saturday. The netminder said he’s not looking to be part of a rebuild and wants to win a Stanley Cup.
With the uncertain futures of players like Mark Schefiele, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Blake Wheeler, Hellebuyck might be the biggest name in the Jets organization that has an unclear path to the next few seasons. He’s got one year left on his current contract and noted that he’s not talked at all with the team about an extension. He noted he’s running out of time to win and it’s hard to imagine the Jets will sort out all of their obvious issues over the next few months.
This was not a good season when it came to morale in the locker room and the belief is that changes need to be made.
When asked about his future, Hellebuyck noted it’s a lot to think about and he’s only two games removed from being eliminated from the playoffs. He said time is flashing by and he’s got to make the most of the years he’s got and that he can play. He hasn’t thought about negotiations at all and that it’s a better question answered by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He doesn’t know where the GM’s mind is at and he doesn’t know what the future plans of the team are. He’s not sure if he’s in their plans, and if they decide to move him, that’s their call.
Hellbuyck doesn’t have trade protection in his contract. So, if the Jets and the goaltender don’t feel this is a marriage that is going to last, there would be no restrictions or issues trading him, outside of the fact that he makes $6.166 million next season. While that might not be the easiest pill to swallow for some teams, adding a top-tier netminder that would turn them into serious contenders is a high priority and moving the pieces needed to make that happen would be something most contenders might be amenable to.
Where Could Hellebuyck Wind Up Being Traded?
There are plenty of teams out there that could use and are in the market for a No. 1 goaltender. Among them are the Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, and possibly the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings. Will Hellebuyck want to go to any of those teams? Will he have a choice?
Next: Trade Talk Surrounds Oilers as Team Prepares for Game 6 vs. Kings
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