3 factors that will make or break the Winnipeg Jets after the All-Star Break

The Winnipeg Jets entered the All-Star Break with three straight losses. Now that the break is over, it’s time for one of the NHL’s premier teams to get back on track.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Winnipeg Jets
Toronto Maple Leafs v Winnipeg Jets / Jason Halstead/GettyImages
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Connor Hellebuyck must reignite his Vezina-like year

Connor Hellebuyck has been an annual contender for the Vezina for the last seven seasons and has even won the award. The 30-year-old has been sensational this season, but in the contests leading to the break, that hasn’t quite been the case. Over the last two games, one of the NHL’s most reliable goaltenders has allowed six goals on 49 shots, rendering his save percentage to just 0.878.

The sheer upside is that poor performances like these are nothing more than outliers at the moment. But few on the Jets need a better start to the final one-third of the season than a game-changer like Hellebuyck. That said, it shouldn’t leave the team exempt from rediscovering what made them one of the league’s best to begin with. 

Winnipeg hasn’t scored well lately, and despite Hellebuyck allowing three goals in each of his past two games, it still should have been enough to force overtime. That didn’t happen, and it led to losses against a pair of teams that a Western Conference representative could find themselves facing in the Stanley Cup Final - the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

If Hellebuyck steps up, then he can single-handedly make life easier for his skaters if they keep struggling. But if he doesn’t, then someone else apart from the forward we talked about earlier must.