InGoal On The Air: Woodley Talks Jets Future, Hellebuyck’s Adjustments
InGoal editor Kevin Woodley was a guest on TSN 1290’s Hustler and Lawless show a little over a week ago, where he discussed the less-than-stellar Winnipeg Jets season, from a goaltending perspective.
Listen to the interview HERE:
They began the conversation by discussing some of the team’s offseason options, as it looks like the team will be in the running for a goaltender to play alongside Connor Hellebuyck next season. One specific name that they threw out was Chad Johnson.
“He’s looking for opportunity. Opportunity to prove that he can still be a number one guy and carry a load like he did earlier in the season in Calgary.”
“You want someone in that vein, in terms of their approach and passion for the position, and evolving it, and getting better at it, and working with a playing partner. Not everybody is like that, not everybody is helpful. If you are going to go the free agent route, those are some of the qualities you need to make sure you find.”
When faced with the question about Hellebuyck’s struggles (especially as the season wore on), Woodley warned against making any rash judgements about his overall skill.
“I would caution against judging Connor Hellebuyck this year, because, talking to guys around the league, this was a really different, tough year, especially for guys transitioning into new roles. This was not an easy year to make the step that he was asked to make.”
“This was the hardest season for goaltenders that they can ever remember.”
Specifically, one thing that Jets fans picked up on was the fact that he was beaten glove side quite often. That’s something that their goaltending coach Wade Flaherty was working on with the young netminder.
“I’ve heard some people criticize [Wade] Flaherty without knowing the details. They talk about his glove positioning being too low. The process of changing it might lead to some struggles, but if the goalie himself sees why it’s necessary and believes it’s going to make him better in the long run, then I don’t see why you criticize him.”
This topic has been covered here on InGoal previously, where Hellebuyck explained the comfort that he finds by holding his hands slightly lower than normal.
Woodley also remains high on prospect Eric Comrie, who saw his first taste of NHL action this year – picking up a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“I don’t think you keep Eric Comrie in the minors. Three years is the ideal development window. I don’t think he has much to learn for him down there anymore. As much as his numbers weren’t there, and as bad as that team has been defensively for two years, I know people expect better numbers than what he’s produced. From a skill and style standpoint, people think he’s ready to play at the highest level already.”