Jets coach Paul Maurice isn’t ruling out carrying three goalies (Ondrej Pavelec, Michael Hutchinson, and Connor Hellebuyck) to start the season, writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun. Hellebuyck is viewed as Winnipeg’s goalie of the future but is the only waiver exempt goalie of the three. It’s uncommon but not rare for teams to carry three (the Islanders did for the bulk of last year) as not only does it mean that one is in the press box every night, it also prevents the team from carrying another extra skater which is often more desirable.
Pavelec is entering the final year of his contract which carries a cap hit of $3.9MM. However, he struggled last year with a save percentage of just .904 with a GAA of 2.78 which would make it very difficult to trade him.
Hutchinson, meanwhile, signed a two year deal this offseason with a more manageable cap charge of $1.15MM. While his numbers weren’t much better than Pavelec’s last year (a slightly worse GAA while being three points higher in save percentage), he likely slots in as the backup moving forward and doesn’t appear to be a candidate to be traded.
If they do keep all three up to start, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Winnipeg shuffle Hellebuyck back and forth between their AHL affiliate, who plays out of the same area as the Jets.
Other training camp battles to follow:
- Still with goaltenders, there is a battle brewing for the number two job with Columbus, notes Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. Sergei Bobrovsky is the surefire starter but incumbent Curtis McElhinney plus youngsters Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo are both in the mix as well. Of the three, only the 33 year old McElhinney would have to clear waivers. Forsberg has had the best preseason but if the team decides that it’s best for their young players to play more in the AHL than dress as the backup with the big club, they may opt to keep the veteran around to start the season and see if one of the youngsters forces his way into the role midseason or as a spot starter.
- Edmonton rookie center Drake Caggiula has turned heads at camp, writes Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun. The Oilers signed the small but highly coveted college UFA late last season and he has made a run at a roster spot. Tychkowski opines that his strong play could allow the team to bump Leon Draisaitl up to the wing to further strengthen their second line.
- 19 year old defenseman Thomas Chabot has made the opening Ottawa roster, according to a tweet from his junior team in Saint John. Chabot was Ottawa’s top pick in 2015 (18th overall) and had 45 points in 47 games at the QMJHL level last season. He’s eligible to play in nine NHL games before burning the first year of his entry-level contract.