The Winnipeg Jets May Need a New Backup Goaltender

The Winnipeg Jets struck backup goaltender gold last season, but they may not be able to keep it. If not, the team better make certain their new pickup is quality.

The Winnipeg Jets knew something about Laurent Brossoit that most didn’t. They inked the mostly-unknown backup to a one year, $650K deal.

Thankfully, he’ll remain under team control as a restricted free agent. Unfortunately, the team is in cap purgatory and can’t really afford to spend big on a backup goaltender.

If someone wants Brossoit starting for them next season, in all likelihood he’ll be gone. Which is, you know, a bummer, since he put up 13-6-2 record with a .925% save percentage and a 2.52 GAA.

He had significantly better numbers than starter Connor Hellebuyck, but was never going to seize the job. But Brossoit impressed with his play and once it became clear he wasn’t going to slow down much, his return became less likely.

He does join a crowded goaltender market, with Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov at the top, Petr Mrazek, Cam Talbot, Mike Smith and Cam Ward are also all scheduled to be UFAs, as is Ryan Miller and Robin Lehner, who had a great year.

Fellow breakouts Jordan Binnington and David Rittich will also have RFA status, so Brossoit won’t be alone on the market.

Lehner and Binnington were the only two scheduled free agent netminders to have a better save percentage than Brossoit, though, so it’s not like he will be without demand.

I’ll hold out hope that he’d like to stay with Winnipeg, maybe in more of a 1A-1B scenario, but I find that unlikely. Connor Hellebuyck’s contract is a bit of an obstacle, there, and Winnipeg’s cap situation isn’t getting any more open.

They might have to keep the line moving and shift from backup to backup on cheap one-year deals, since they’ll have to pinch pennies everywhere, especially if they’re to improve the roster elsewhere.

They’ll need the improvement if they lose Brossoit, however, as his play as a backup really boosted a team that wasn’t buoyed by much other than Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele for much of the season.

So what’s next if Brossoit departs? Cam Talbot on a one-year deal if nobody pegs him as a starter (doubtful they will)? I’ve seen enough of Mike Smith and Cam Ward for a lifetime. Eric Comrie showed very little in his admittedly limited chances, so they shouldn’t count on him.

I’d be okay with bringing Michael Hutchinson back if he’s up for it. I would also like to see Anthony Stolarz get a shot outside of Edmonton, as he was decent in Philly not so long ago. We never knew much about Brossoit, either, and look how that turned out. Stay tuned, I suppose.