Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele have been in trade rumors all summer long. And Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe says that training camp isn’t putting any pressure on the Winnipeg Jets to find a deal. Wiebe says that the Jets don’t want to make a rash decision regarding their top center and goaltender, especially following the trading of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Scheifele’s former number-two, to the Los Angeles Kings.
Instead, Wiebe expects both Scheifele and Hellebuyck to attend training camp, where reporters and fans should be able to get a much better sense of what path forward the players may prefer. The team remains open to both trades and possible contract extensions, although the price of either option would be steep. How the Jets handle Hellebuyck and Scheifele’s situation will be very interesting to follow, as it could be a strong indicator of the team’s goals over the next few years.
There’s no denying the impact that Hellebuyck or Scheifele makes on a day-to-day basis. Hellebuyck ranks second in wins over the last five seasons, behind only Andrei Vasilevskiy, and his .916 save percentage ranks sixth among all goalies with 150 or more games played in that span. He won the Vezina Trophy only four seasons ago and finished third in Vezina voting this year, marking the fourth time he’s finished in the top five.
And while Hellebuyck has been a stone wall in net, Scheifele has been the team’s goal-scorer. He netted 42 goals in 81 games last season, his first time breaking the 40-goal mark. He’s reached 272 career goals, all coming with the Jets, placing him just 56 goals behind Ilya Kovalchuk’s franchise goal-scoring record. Scheifele also ranks second in all-time franchise scoring, with 645 career points. While the Jets have tended to spread around their ice time, Scheifele continues to operate confidently as the team’s top-line center.
The Winnipeg Jets aren’t necessarily up against the cap but keeping around a Vezina-caliber starter and 40-goal-scoring top-line center beyond this season will undoubtedly come at a rich price. For a team with a lot of questions looming, decisions around Hellebuyck and Scheifele will be telling.