Goaltenders are one of the most valuable players in all of sports, having a top-end talent at the position can be a difference maker.
That’s exactly what the Winnipeg Jets have in Connor Hellebuyck, who is a former Vezina Trophy winner. The 30-year-old’s contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, which has been the root cause of trade rumours surrounding him.
There has been speculation about the potential of a trade involving Hellebuyck ahead of the upcoming season, but no move has been made. If the Jets want to remain competitive in 2023-24, they should keep it that way.
Top-tier netminders such as Hellebuyck are extremely rare to come by and can be the difference between a contender and a pretender. Having one of the best goalies in the NHL can instantly bolster a team into contention, despite shortcomings in other areas.
The Jets have made the playoffs in five of the last six years, and have consistently been a threat in the Central Division. Despite a number of significant moves this offseason, Winnipeg should remain in playoff contention next season.
Offloading Hellebuyck ahead of the season would be detrimental to the team's success in 2023-24. Wanting to get a return for a valuable asset is understandable, however, even if the team struggles with Hellebuyck between the pipes, they could move him at the trade deadline.
Over eight NHL seasons, Hellebuyck has a record of 238-154-34, boasting an impressive .916 save percentage with a goals against average of 2.66. He’s a three-time NHL All-Star who has spent his full eight-year professional hockey career in Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Jets have an extremely talented veteran goaltender between the pipes and despite an expiring contract, now isn’t the time to trade Connor Hellebuyck.