Connor Hellebuyck should not only be voted winner of the Vezina Trophy given to the top goalie in the NHL, he deserves consideration for the Hart Trophy voted as League MVP, Winnipeg Jets teammate Adam Lowry said Tuesday.
"You look at [Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka] Rask and the season he's had, but you look at the bulk of the work that [Hellebuyck's] had," the Jets forward told TSN. "Some nights we give up a lot of quality chances. I think by far and away he should be the winner of [the Vezina Trophy]. He's such an important piece to our team. I think he should be in the conversation for the Hart. You look at most valuable players and what they mean to their team. Without [Hellebuyck] and our goaltending tandem (with Laurent Brossoit), I don't think we're sitting in the [Stanley Cup Playoff] spot."
The Jets (37-28-6) held the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference when the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Winnipeg would play the Calgary Flames in a best-of-5 Qualifying Round series to reach the playoffs, based on the Return to Play Plan announced by the NHL on Tuesday.
Hellebuyck is 31-21-5 with a 2.57 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and an NHL-high six shutouts in 58 games (56 starts). He leads the NHL in shots against (1,796) and saves (1,656), is tied for first with Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price in games, second to Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning (35) in wins, and second in save percentage (minimum 35 games played) behind Rask (.929).
"[Hellebuyck] was so good for us this year up until the pause that I'd say there were a lot of games where we might of not had a great start, he makes two or three great saves to give us a chance to wake up and keep us in the game, whereas if he's not on top of his game we could be down two or three goals early," Lowry said.
Hellebuyck was runner-up to Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators for the Vezina Trophy in 2018.