Superior GoaltendingBy: Chris White | Published: November 19th 2015
If you haven’t heard, the Moose have two of the top young goalie prospects in hockey.
Don’t believe me? Do a quick on-line search and you’ll find Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie at, or near, the top of more than a few lists.
And why wouldn’t they be? Hellebuyck had a stellar rookie season in St. John’s where he appeared in a whopping 58 games and won 28 times while posting a .921 save percentage before helping the USA to a bronze medal at the World Championship in the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, Comrie turned pro this season after going 2.87/.914 in 40 appearances with Tri-City of the WHL; he also helped Canada to a gold at the World Junior Championship; and recorded a 2.27 average and .920 save percentage in three games with the St. John’s IceCaps.
I know that’s old news, but the “new” news is just as impressive so far this AHL season. Yes, it’s early and it’s true both have room to grow but the numbers suggest both are right on track with their development.
Let’s start with Connor; he’s 2.45 and .926 in playing nine of the team’s 13 games while picking up two of Manitoba’s three wins.
Eric has done just as well with a 1.95 average (4th AHL) and a .937 save percentage (4th AHL) in his four outings and recently earned the “W” in the team’s first home win.
But maybe most impressive about what the duo is doing is how consistently “on” they are.
Analytics expert Robert Vollman introduced the term Quality Starts a little while back and Hellebuyck and Comrie are piling them up.
A quality start, in its most basic form, is when a goalie posts a single game save percentage that’s at the league average or better (which is .902 so far).
Connor and Eric have combined to turn in 10 quality starts in the 13 Moose games to date.
Hellebuyck had six quality starts in his nine outings, all in-a-row, before Thursday’s loss to the Chicago Wolves. And, included in those six straight quality starts are two in the second half of back-to-back starts and Connor’s first shutout of the season.
Not to be outdone Comrie has gone four-for-four so far, stopping better than the AHL average in every game he’s played.
No one knows what the long-term future holds for the Jets’ young goaltending hopefuls, but it’s clear the current Moose tandem is performing well and as the saying goes; giving the team a chance to win almost every night.
Hellebuyck, Comrie, and the Manitoba Moose host Bakersfield Friday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 22 visit moosehockey.com/tickets to get in on the action.