A strange turn of events in Winnipeg’s crease
With just one preseason game remaining, the Winnipeg Jets’ goaltending situation still hasn’t officially been settled, but the battle took an interesting twist on Saturday.
While many expected Ondrej Pavelec to get the start in this game, the team announced that Michael Hutchinson would be between the pipes against the Wild.
Per TSN’s Gary Lawless, the plan was to give Pavelec, Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck a pair of starts each. Tonight would have been Pavelec’s second apperance, but instead Hutchinson will be making his third preseason start.
“Just looking for a continuation of his camp,” head coach Paul Maurice said of Hutchinson, per the Winnipeg Sun. “He’s a had a really good, really solid camp.
“Mike’s had a bit of an advantage over both (Hellebuyck) and Pavelec. With them being the third goalies at a World Cup event like that, you don’t slide backward but you don’t get into that training camp groove. I think Mike’s in it. He’s looked good and strong and we want to keep that going.”
The decision to start Hutchinson could mean a whole bunch of things or it could mean nothing at all.
Let’s examine the possibilities:
--First, the Jets may have decided to go with Hutchinson as their starting goaltender, which would mean that Pavelec would be the backup, he’d get traded or he’d be put on waivers.
--Another possibility is that Winnipeg is simply resting Pavelec in a meaningless game so that he can be “fresher” for the start of the regular season.
The 29-year-old missed 33 games between Nov. 23 and Feb. 11 last year and they may not want to take any unnecessary chances with his health.
--The Jets could theoretically be shopping Hutchinson and another start would give interested teams an additional opportunity to look at him.
--Of course, Hellebuyck could also emerge as the team’s starting goaltender out of camp.
The one thing going against the 23-year-old is that he wouldn’t need waivers to go down to the minors because he’s still on his entry-level contract.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Jets decide to do in the end.