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Hextall on Hockey: Backup goalie a necessary insurance plan for Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets goalie Laurent Brossoit (30) deflects a shot on goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, March 8, 2019. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

“It’s going to be an interesting time”: the words of Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, referring to the challenge this off-season and beyond of a flat cap of $81.5 million, as limited revenue growth is expected in the NHL due to the pandemic.

If we’ve learned anything in the past few seasons and current playoffs, the backup goaltender is a must-have in today’s NHL.

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Current Jets backup Laurent Brossoit is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Brossoit followed up his strong 2018-19 campaign, in which he won 13 of his 21 appearances, with a below-.500 record and a goals-against average of 3.28.

They’re not the sparkling stats that earned him a one-year deal worth double the money just a season ago.

But goalies are always about the bounceback, and with the uncertainty surrounding what will be available in free agency or via trade or with the cap crunch, a decision on what needs to be done needs to be made now.

Read more: Hextall on Hockey — Winnipeg Jets select 10th after Rangers get lucky draft ball

The Stanley Cup playoffs have illustrated the need for not just a backup but more of a 1B to the team’s 1A — Boston’s Jaroslav Halak stepping in and stepping up for the Bruins, or Jake Allen taking the crease for the defending Stanley Cup champions in order to provide a spark and a series comeback for the Blues against the Canucks.

The backup goalie is the insurance plan you pay for and might not need but when you do, it’s worth it.

And their worth is set to grow.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the NHL into a condensed schedule when the puck drops in December.

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Even with a Vezina-calibre starter in Connor Hellebuyck, the Jets need to lock up a backup that they know can shoulder the extra responsibility, and is more reward than risk.

Click to play video: 'Connor Hellebuyck gets high-praise from former Jets goalie Joe Daley' Connor Hellebuyck gets high-praise from former Jets goalie Joe Daley
Connor Hellebuyck gets high-praise from former Jets goalie Joe Daley – Jul 14, 2018

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