The move comes as a bit of a surprise from the vantage point that Hellebuyck has a .918 save percentage even after having a tough go of things in four of his last five games. His .939 even strength save percentage is 10th among all NHL goaltenders. Pavelec ranks 25th and Michael Hutchinson ranks 64th of 67 goaltenders who have played at least 280 even strength minutes.
Pavelec, the teams’ ostensible starter, has a .906 save percentage through 15 games this season. Though he posted a .920 last year, that seems to be an outlier, with it being the only season where’s he been north of .906 in the last five seasons.
Meanwhile Hutchinson, the back up to start the season, didn’t get the starter job when Pavelec went out of the lineup. Hellebuyck stole it from him with strong play.
Hellebuyck, 22, is the clear goaltender of the future in Winnipeg, but there may be something more behind the more. The Jets are just three points from the last place Toronto Maple Leafs and have next to no hope of making the postseason. The tank may be on for the Jets, who would have created some roster issues if they kept Hellebuyck on the roster.
Hellebuyck doesn’t require waivers to his the AHL, while Hutchinson would.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) February 12, 2016
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.