Jets Sign Michael Hutchinson To Two-Year Deal
Winnipeg Jets have signed pending restricted free agent Michael Hutchinson to a new two-year deal worth $2.3 million the club confirmed on Tuesday.
Selected in the third round (77th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, Hutchinson first joined the Jets in 2013 as an unrestricted free agent after Boston failed to tender a qualifying offer following the completion of his entry level deal.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 21, 2016
In 71 NHL games for Winnipeg over the past three seasons, he has gone 32-26-8 with a .912 save percentage and 2.53 goals-against average.
Despite some difficulties last season, the 26-year-old is still considered a solid NHL level goaltender and his return to Winnipeg casts further doubt over the future of Ondrej Pavelec in Manitoba.
The Czech puck stopper is under contract for one more year, but with Hutchinson signed and top prospects Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie in the system there seems to be little room for the oft-maligned 28-year-old moving forward.
Jets management has given Pavelec their backing on numerous occasions during recent seasons, despite some erratic play, even rewarding him with a five-year deal in 2012.
But Hellebuyck has long been seen as the Jets franchise goaltender in waiting, and impressed many with some strong play on an indifferent Winnipeg side last season, posting a .918 save percentage in 26 games.
Likewise Comrie put in some good performances for a weak Manitoba Moose side in the AHL, and is also considered to have a high ceiling with NHL potential.
With Pavelec set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017, and Hutchinson a UFA in 2018, Winnipeg have given themselves plenty of flexibility between the pipes in the next few years as the club looks to solidify it’s goaltending following several seasons of inconsistency.