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Pavelec Injured, Jets Recall Top Prospect Hellebuyck

Pavelec Injured, Jets Recall Top Prospect Hellebuyck

The Winnipeg Jets have recalled top goaltending prospect Connor Hellebuyck from the Manitoba Moose after Ondrej Pavelec sustained an injury in their 3-2 win over Arizona on Saturday night.

The injury occurred when Pavelec was barreled into by Shane Doan, bending both of his legs back at an awkward angle. The only details are that it a lower-body injury, and the Jets have not commented about the seriousness or length of time that he will be out.


CTV Winnipeg’s Shawn Churchill reported after the game that Pavelec was spotted leaving the arena with crutches, leading many to believe that he will be out of the lineup for quite sometime.

Despite having a 2-7-1 record, Hellebuyck is having another terrific year in the AHL. His .927 save percentage is good for 9th-best in the league, even though he is playing for a weaker Manitoba Moose team. Earlier this year, Hellebuyck was ranked #1 in our top 50 goaltending prospects list. His unique mix of size and skill, and polished technical game are what sets him apart from other prospects.

Hellebuyck is huge in the net, but is not saddled with many of the issues that are commonly associated with large goaltenders. He is a strong skater, and takes advantage of that by being smart about his butterfly usage. He does not sit back and rely on his size do the work. His lateral pushes are explosive, but he stays within himself due to an understanding of the type of positioning that works best for a goalie of his size. It’s very rare to see Hellebuyck scramble out of position, which is a sign of a goaltender that knows his limits and is in complete control.

There is no word on how the Jets plan on using Hellebuyck, but if Pavelec is out for any extended period of time, expect him to see at least a little bit of action. This injury also provides a fantastic opportunity for youngster Eric Comrie to start a few games in a row for the Moose. In limited action, he has posted a .937 save percentage and 1.95 goals-against-average. The reports have been very positive about Comrie, who is in his first pro season after moving on from the WHL’s Tri-City Americans this year.

Hellebuyck was already on the ice with the team earlier today, working with head goaltending coach Wade Flaherty.

With this news, the Manitoba Moose had to sign a goaltender to an emergency PTO to fill the roster spot.


About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.