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Jets’ Blake Wheeler Says Team Needs Better Goaltending

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When a team finishes with the fourth-highest goals-against per game (3.11) and the third-worst team save percentage (.900), its pretty obvious that upgrades are needed.

The Winnipeg Jets own those dubious statistics and Blake Wheelers knows how important solid goaltending is to the future successes of the Jets.

We need better goaltending. It’s a tough business, and being a goalie is tough” Wheeler said to Matt Larkin of The Hockey News .

“By no means is this closing the door on anyone, but I think having competition back there is really important. Because if you keep putting somebody back in the net, and they’re 24 years old and maybe they’re not quite ready for it, it can be damaging to them a little bit.

And seeing someone go in there who has worked for it, who’s had success doing it, can really only help them. Having competition back there, having that hunger to get back into the net, that’s a huge thing for any team.

The ideal situation is that we have two No. 1 goalies and we ride the hot guy, and the guy who’s not playing is pissed off, and when he gets into the net, he gets hot, and they work out like that.

And if one guy grabs the job and runs with it, that’s great too. There are 31 starting goalie jobs in the entire world, so there’s an incredible amount of competition, so it’s a thankless job a lot of times.

But for us to get to where we need to go, we need to have that position solidified.”

Winnipeg relied on Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson to man the net last season and their results weren’t anything to gush over.

Hellebuyck posted 26-19-4 in 56 games with a 2.89 GAA and a .907 save percentage and his counterpart Hutchinson, went 9-12-3 with a 2.92 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

Those numbers are exactly the kind that need improving and Wheeler is calling out his team to make the adjustments.

Winnipeg is hoping that that answered their issue when they signed former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason to a two-year deal.

 

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes Moving to Central Division

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Following the announcement of Seattle as the NHL’s 32nd franchise on Tuesday, there is a shakeup happening in the league’s divisional alignment in the Western Conference to accommodate the addition of the brand new team.

It has been announced that the Arizona Coyotes will officially move from the Pacific Division to the Central Division beginning with the 2021-22 season to accommodate the arrival of Seattle, who will join the Pacific Division, giving the league 16 teams in each conference and eight in each division.

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Seattle Officially Announced as the NHL’s 32nd Team

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It’s official! The NHL’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to accept Seattle’s expansion bid as the 32nd team in the league, according to an official announcement from the league on Tuesday.

The investment group that applied for the expansion included Oak View Group (OVG), which includes Tod Leiweke, former COO of the NFL, Tim Leiweke, former CEO of both Anschutz Entertainment Group (which owns the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings franchise) along with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs), and David Bonderman, a Seattle billionaire.

The group also received the benefit of full and public support from Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan throughout the process, and the announcement was considered a foregone conclusion once the group was armed with approval for a new arena.

This could also bode well for the potential return of an NBA franchise in Seattle, as a new arena will certainly re-ignite those efforts.

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Canucks’ Prospect Michael DiPietro Traded In OHL

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After being names to the Team Canada World Junior selection camp on Monday, Vancouver Canucks goaltending prospect has been traded by the Windsor Spitfires to the Ottawa 67’s in exchange that includes forward Egor Afanasyev and seven draft picks, according to the team’s official website.

DiPietro, 19, was selected 64th overall in the 2017 draft and is considered one of the top goaltending prospects in the league, and he owns a .920 save percentage through 21 games.

 

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