Winnipeg Jets Prospect Connor Hellebuyck Wins Mike Richter Award

It seems like Winnipeg Jets fans are looking for good news with their teams’ season coming to a close, and on Friday afternoon, they received some, courtesy of the NCAA.

Jets’ goaltending prospect Connor Hellebuyck was the first-ever winner of the “Mike Richter Award”, given to the best net-minder in the NCAA.

Hellebuyck played 29 games for UMass-Lowell in 2013-14, amassing an incredible .941% save percentage and 1.67 GAA, both of which led all Division I goaltenders. He had six shutouts on the season.

Hellebuyck won the award in it’s inaugural year, and was presented with the honor by the man it was named after: former New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter. Richter played two seasons of NCAA hockey before going on a long and storied NHL career.

Hellebuyck had this to say after accepting the award:

“It’s a huge milestone in my life I’ll never forget. Just being picked for this from some of the great goaltenders that could have easily been chosen, it says something.”

This year of college hockey was to be his last, however, as he signed a three-year contract with the Jets just six days previous. Hellebuyck will likely play for the Jets’ AHL affiliate next season, the St. John’s Ice Caps. The Jets originally drafted the 6-foot-4 ‘tender in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, at 130th overall.

With the Jets’ current goaltending tandem set to be broken up in the off-season, it is certainly a weight off the shoulders of Kevin Chevaldayoff, who now has four solid prospective goaltenders: Hellebuyck, Michael Hutchinson, who earned his first NHL win on Thursday, Eddie Pasquale, and Eric Comrie.


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