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Pavelec is right — ‘it’s time to make the playoffs’ for Winnipeg

Sep 11, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT

Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec Getty Images

They don’t get a ton of attention playing in the NHL’s smallest market, but that doesn’t change the fact there’s a ton of pressure on the Winnipeg Jets to make the playoffs in 2013-14.

Just ask goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

“It’s the third year in Winnipeg after we moved from Atlanta,” said Pavelec, per the Winnipeg Free Press. “Last year after the lockout we were close, but that wasn’t good enough. This year I think we have the team to make the playoffs. I thought we did last year but we just didn’t make it. This year I think is the time to do it.

“I think it was a great summer for the Jets and [GM Kevin Cheveldayoff] did a great job. [Devon] Setoguchi is going to score some goals and is a very good player. Same thing with [Michael] Frolik. We signed some big guys. Now it’s time to make the playoffs.”

As the paper points out, Jets ownership committed $93 million this summer to re-sign forwards Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler and defenseman Zach Bogosian. Add it up and Winnipeg’s payroll is not far removed from the league’s biggest spenders.

That probably won’t be the case when the salary cap goes up in the coming years, so this post-lockout season — a season when the big spenders have been hamstrung by the lowered cap — may be an opportunity for the Jets.

  1. mrpinkca - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Pavelec is awful, so if they miss the playoffs this year it’s likely on him. Even with him, I think the second wild card is definitely within reach for Winnipeg.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      I honestly mean this in the nicest way possible but do you watch Jets games? Pavelec is often one of the reasons they stay in games they should otherwise have no business being in. He’s gotten hung out to dry far too often, and he makes some absolutely ridiculous saves. Yes, he needs to improve on the consistency, like the rest of the team, but he’s a pretty young guy too. He seems to be a pretty polarizing goalie, but I tend to think he’s pretty good with a lot of upside.

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    They get glossed over a lot outside of Winnipeg, but that may not be such a bad thing. IMO they’re arguably one of the most underrated teams in the league, most likely due to the lack of coverage, and while a lot of folks have them pegged (no pun intended) for last or near last in the Central, I’m not so sure. They were only 5 pts out of a playoff spot last year, and if they’d tightened up on D a bit and bumped up their consistency, I have no doubt they would have made it to the dance. It’ll be tight between the Jets, Colorado, Dallas, and Nashville next year, and I think Winnipeg will surprise a lot of people.

  3. avfanforlife - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Jets home games are the best games to watch (coming from a die-hard Av’s fan)… Unfortunately, NHL Center Ice takes the HD feed and broadcasts in standard def. 90% of the time which is beyond ridiculous. Can’t wait for Av’s v Jets games this year…hope they both get into post season play.

  4. pavelfitzgerald - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Pavelec can be incredibly frustrating for Jets fans as on some nights he is the ONLY reason the Jets have a chance at winning & at other times he looks average to below average. If this young man (yes he is young) can find some consistency this will be a playoff team. All the points lostpuppy makes are spot on & it’s obvious that he actually watches some Jets games.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the Avalanche games this year as you folks have put together a fine team brimming with young talent. The Avalanche are another team not getting much love but could be very dangerous

  5. scrouch - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    I hope the Jets defence is solid enough this season to give us a real sense of how good Pavelc actually is. Last year when he was over-played there were some weak goals in a few games and occasionally his rebound control results in 2nd chances that account for some of the insane saves he really shouldn’t need to make. But defensive zone coverage is so bad some nights that he can’t be blamed for any of the goals that go in and if not for some incredible play there really should be a lot more going in. The Jets had no business being in a lot of games last season that they ended up coming out of with points that you can credit entirely to Pavelec playing amazing. It isn’t like some teams where they shots they give up are from the outside with little to no traffic and they tie up players in front and clear rebounds. The quality of chances he needs to deal with are much better than most goalies have to deal with. If he gets some help from his defence this season we can see if he’s actually a good goalie, or if his numbers still aren’t good enough. The people who just look at numbers and don’t watch the game think he’s terrible. People who watch every Jets game mostly think he’s very good and that the team would have been closer to a first overall pick than the playoffs without him in the last 2 seasons. I think with better use of Montoya and tighter defensive coverage we’ll be able to learn a lot this season about how good or not good he actually is.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      The fact that they drafted Morrissey and Trouba in the last 2 drafts makes me think they are in need of some better defenders. What I can’t wrap my mind around though is why they’ve insisted on pairing Byfuglien and Enstrom together. You’d think Huddy would know the first thing about pairing a responsible stay-at-home guy with a free-wheeling offensive-minded D-man. I’m actually hoping Ian White pans out with his PTO, if only to replace Hainsey. In any case, you’re dead right about folks who think Pavelec is terrible simply because of his numbers. Frankly, it’s an indication of how closely folks are paying attention to the Jets when they spout off about how awful Pavs plays. I drink Chevy’s Kool-aid, and if they’re willing to shell out a contract similar to Niemi’s or Scheider’s, I’d like to think they have some serious confidence in the guy.

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