WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets already have discarded their disappointment from being swept by the Montreal Canadiens within the Stanley Cup 2d Spherical and are focusing on what they judge is a radiant future.
“We’re very shut to being in a position to produce runs and be a dynasty,” Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck mentioned Wednesday. “It be proper going to exhaust just a few more pieces and we’re going to be there.”
The Jets lost 3-2 in time past regulation in opposition to the Canadiens in Game 4 of the proper-of-7 sequence Monday. Winnipeg swept the Edmonton Oilers within the first round.
Hellebuyck had a 2.23 goals-in opposition to moderate and .931 put percentage in eight playoff video games. The Vezina Trophy winner in 2019-20 because the proper goalie within the NHL modified into once 24-17-3 with a 2.58 GAA, .916 put percentage and four shutouts in 45 video games at some level of the normal season, and led the NHL in time on ice (2,602: 49), photos in opposition to (1,335) and saves (1,223).
He mentioned conclude-of-season conversations with administration this week extra convinced him the Jets are involving just a few hit the Stanley Cup.
“You needn’t extinguish a year proper going guessing,” Hellebuyck mentioned. “They elevate out deserve to select, and they deserve to select now. They are searching out for the upright pieces. My mindset is upright now, and next year I will state the identical thing.
“You moreover needn’t blow it for future years, so you’ll need to deserve to be tidy about it. I judge our organization positively desires it now and they’ll elevate out what they deserve to elevate out.”
Hellebuyck has three seasons left on his contract, and four of Winnipeg’s high-six forwards — Kyle Connor (5), Nikolaj Ehlers (four), Tag Scheifele (three) and Blake Wheeler (three) — and third-line center Adam Lowry (5), are below contract for more than one seasons.
The Jets continue to rebuild at defenseman, a venture that started after Dustin Byfuglien retired sooner than the 2019-20 season. Josh Morrissey (seven) and Dylan DeMelo (three) are the defensemen signed for more than one seasons, and a younger neighborhood is within the mix for roster spots next season, amongst them Logan Stanley, 23; Dylan Samberg, 22; and Ville Heinola, 20.
“You would per chance perhaps also leer the pieces coming in, they’re making big strikes and playing bigger than themselves,” Hellebuyck mentioned. “When that core starts to head love that, that is whenever you start to bag a dominating personnel. We’re shut.”
The Jets have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs four consecutive seasons, and reached the Western Convention Final in 2018, and their future must quiet be about persevering with in that vein, Wheeler mentioned.
“You bag to the final eight of 31 groups, you’re within the dialog,” the Jets captain mentioned. “The hardest phase is formulating a core neighborhood of gamers that you just watched are the identity of your personnel, the fellows that can push you over the poke, and I judge now we have got that.
“That’s a mountainous step within the upright path, starting with our goaltender and then work it around to just some of the fellows that for the time being are roughly getting to their mid to stupid 20s. I mean, that is a proper thing you’re truly obsessed on. In a flat [NHL salary] cap world, that is going to be roughly the difficulty this summer time, how elevate out you match the pieces in to roughly push that core over the tip. I train that’s what stays to be seen.”
The Jets have two key restricted free brokers to re-designate, forward Andrew Copp, who scored an NHL career-ideal 39 positive aspects (15 goals, 24 assists) in 55 video games, and defenseman Neal Pionk, who scored 32 positive aspects (three goals, 29 assists) in 54 video games.
“We did a radiant proper job this year and we put ourselves in a situation the put that impartial was in scrutinize,” Copp mentioned. “Obviously we didn’t bag over the poke and we deserve to work on, as a total, being more tough to play in opposition to, more constant, however there is no one immediate repair. It be proper every person taking a step of their particular particular person video games, taking a step in our personnel sport, how we work together.
“Guys with one other year of abilities, one other year of being mentally stronger and understanding what roughly sport it takes to select within the playoffs. It be a totality of actions and we’re on the upright path.”
Pionk mentioned there are masses of reasons for optimism.
“I love the inducement of this core,” he mentioned. “You leer at our ideal gamers and I judge they’re the hardest working guys on the personnel. They’re the first guys within the rink, the first ones on the ice, the closing ones off the ice. … That motivation on my own, along with the skill and skill that now we have got as a core, I judge is de facto thrilling for the lengthy bustle.”