Laurent Brossoit betting on himself in return to Winnipeg Jets

Laurent Brossoit, fresh off a Stanley Cup celebration with the Vegas Golden Knights, is ready to take another step forward in his quest to establish himself as a number one goalie in the National Hockey League.

And at least for the 2023-24 NHL season Brossoit intends to do that in Winnipeg, where he played from 2018-21,  after signing a one-year deal with the Jets when the free agent market opened July 1st.

“It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, that’s for sure. We soaked that up and before you know it, it’s free agency and here we are,” Brossoit told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

“For me, there was a limited amount, but there were some options and I felt the familiarity — coupled with the fact that we’re retaining a lot of guys in Winnipeg — and it’s going to be a little different than when I was there the last time and that excited me. I just think there’s a little more opportunity for me to win starts and be a bigger part than I was last time.”

Brossoit had a very limited role as a backup to Connor Hellebuyck during his three seasons in Winnipeg, going 25-19-3 in 54 appearances with a 2.75 goals against average, .913 saves percentage, and two shutouts.

After becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021, Brossoit signed a two year deal with Vegas – but played in just 35 regular season games during his time as a Golden Knight, mostly because of injuries.

And it was a recurring left hip problem that forced him out of the net during game three of the Edmonton series, and reduced Brossoit to “spectator status” while Adin Hill took over between the pipes to backstop Vegas to a Stanley Cup title — and earn himself a two-year, $US 9.8M contract to remain with the champs.

“Definitely the way it shook out, it doesn’t feel like that craving has been fully satisfied. It was a great experience but it just definitely made me hungrier to be a bigger part of another Stanley Cup,” admitted the 30-year-old British Columbia native who feels the Jets can give him that opportunity.

“The story with Winnipeg is that they’re very threatening. We have that high-powered offence and Hellebuyck in net. We (Vegas) were pretty nervous in the first round playing Winnipeg. They can always turn it up and score seven on you when they’re feeling it. The knock, I guess, has just been consistency so if we can find that — find some cohesion throughout the year, find a way that works for us that allows us to have a consistent structure to our game, than I think anything can happen.”

And it’s because of those reasons — and an anticipated rising salary cap for 2024-25 — that Brossoit elected to sign for just one year, and for $US 575K less than what he made on his previous contract.

“I think I showed a lot of people — showed myself what I could do this past year — but I think everyone wants to see a little more of that,” said Brossoit who was 7-0-3 with a 2.17 GAA and .927 save percentage for Vegas in his final 11 regular season appearances for the Golden Knights.

That strong performance earned him the starting job for the playoffs against his former teammates, and serenades of “you’re a backup” from a sellout crowd of mostly Winnipeg supporters in games three and four of the series at Canada Life Centre.

“I love that part of the game, that’s good fun when that many people are chanting something related to you,” said Brossoit.

“I think if you’re being chanted like that, obviously it’s a good thing. It’s water under the bridge.”

There has been much speculation this off-season about whether Hellebuyck will still be in a Winnipeg uniform when the team re-assembles for training camp in the fall. The former Vezina Trophy winner and three-time finalist for the NHL’s outstanding goaltending award is entering the season on an expiring contract and has reportedly informed the Jets he does not intend to sign an extension beyond 2023-24.

However that scenario plays out, Brossoit sees his return to Winnipeg as an opportunity.

“You know I’m going to push Helley, he’s obviously the guy who has been trusted there for a long time and he’s a good friend of mine,” explained Brossoit.  “I’m going to push him like I did when I was here last and hopefully we can both better for it and have the strongest tandem in the league.”

And Brossoit says there is no need for Jets fans to be concerned about where he is health wise. According to the six-foot-three-inch, 215-pound puck stopper, the two hip surgeries of the past calendar year have him feeling as good about himself as he has at any point in his 10-year professional career.

“The left hip, it was always inactive, and having that wake up because of those surgeries was a huge step forward in my physiological game,” said Brossoit.

“It feels like my game is getting more and more complete, so I’m really excited to have a full summer of actual training and see what I can do this year.”


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