The Winnipeg Jets have faith in Michael Hutchinson, and so should you. The 24 year old had his first taste of NHL action last year in 3 games, but Kevin Cheveldeyoff, the rest of the management team, and the coaching staff clearly have seen enough good things to warrant letting former backup Al Montoya sign as a free agent with the Florida Panthers. Hutchinson is likely the leading candidate to back up Ondrej Pavalec to begin the season and with the new role, he’s got a fantastic new mask designed and painted by David Leroux of Diel Airbrush.
Similar to the Hutchinson’s last mask painted by Leroux, this new lid shows off a classic, clean design and pays tribute to the former flyers of World War II. Along the left side of the mask, “Jets” is written in the new style introduced to the team during their most recent reincarnation in Manitoba’s capital. One has to wonder when they’ll take that and put it on a 3rd jersey. Just above that is a WWII P 47 Thunderbolts in a neat sketch design, with other P 47’s flying in formation in the backdrop.
On the chin of the mask, a red maple leaf shines with a chrome finish. The right side of the mask is a mirror image of the left and gives the mask a pleasing, symmetrical design sure to keep the traditionalists upset with the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers new signature jerseys content. The smooth lines above the planes with Jets blue and grey are sure to have Hutchinson looking polished and smooth. Leroux said of the design, “he really liked his mask last year so he wanted to keep it clean and simple, old school with a 2014 twist.” After Leroux drew up a few sketches, Hutchinson eagerly chose the one you see today.
On the top of the mask, in consistent fashion, the classic design continues for Hutchinson, where Leroux has just cropped the top of the Jets logo. The roundel meant as a tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force is in fine form. It’s a bold look that Hutchinson has clearly shown an affinity towards. The chrome finish that accompanies the strong lines and prominent logos make for a superb mask. Well done, David and Michael!
As mentioned, Hutchinson played in 3 games for the Jets last year. However, they were the last three games of the regular season and essentially a way of giving Ondrej Pavelec the rest of the year off. Hutchinson impressed anyway. In those three games, he went 2-1-0, posting a .943 SV% and only allowing 5 goals, good for a 1.64 GAA. Obviously, it’s a small sample size, but Hutchinson has played well in the pros since he started with the Providence Bruins of AHL back in 2010. In fact, last year with the St. John’s IceCaps (AHL) and Ontario Reign (ECHL), Hutchinson was a combined 39-9-3.
In addition to the .923 SV% and 2.30 GAA he put up in the regular season with the IceCaps, “Hutch” also led his team to Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals with a 12-9 record and an impressive combination of a .938 SV% and a 1.95 GAA. Hutchinson has the skills to compete for the job, and who knows, perhaps if Pavelec stumbles out of the block, Hutchinson could steal some starting minutes. Now to go along with the skills and new role as backup, Hutchinson has a clean-cut, old school design that fits in Winnipeg.
David Leroux’s work is some of the best featured on InGoal magazine and this one is no different. Check out the “Bullies” mask Leroux painted for InGoal’s own Aaron Slagman. Also the long time painter of NHL’er Ray Emery, Leroux painted this masterpiece last year depicting the Tuskagee Airmen among others. Be sure to check out the Diel Airbrush website, as well as follow David on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.