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Under Pressure: Ondrej Pavelec

Aug 2, 2014, 12:22 PM EST

Ondrej Pavelec Getty Images

“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.

For the Winnipeg Jets, we pick… goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

If there’s a guy that’s beyond worthy of being put under the microscope in Winnipeg it’s the 26-year-old Czech netminder.

Pavelec has been a lifer in the Jets organization getting his start with the team back in Atlanta. In the team’s final year in Georgia, he posted what have turned out to be the best numbers of his career going 21-23-9 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.73 goals-against average.

Since moving to Manitoba, life hasn’t been great for him on the ice. Check out his stats from the past three seasons:

2011-12:  29-28-9   .906    2.91

2013:      21-20-3   .905    2.80

2013-14:  22-26-7  .901    3.01

It was following that 2011-12 season the Jets re-signed Pavelec to a five-year, $19.5 million deal. Considering how average that season was, many people questioned it.

Now that his numbers haven’t improved (they’ve gotten worse) and he’s got three years left on a deal that counts for $3.9 million against the cap, it had some wondering if the Jets would use a compliance buy out on him during the offseason. That didn’t happen and now it’s on him to prove he’s worthy of the faith being put in him. After all, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff declared Pavelec as their No. 1 goalie heading into next season.

To make things a bit more dramatic, the Jets re-signed backup Michael Hutchinson to a two-year deal after he had three impressive games at the end of last season. Will he be enough to put pressure on Pavelec to perform at his peak best? That’s up to Paul Maurice, but he was outplayed by Al Montoya last season and still held down the starting job.

With the fans in Winnipeg growing weary of losing and Pavelec’s numbers not living up to the billing of being a starting NHL goalie, a shake-up could be on the horizon if he doesn’t improve quickly. It may be time for him to become “Pavelectric” on a nightly basis.

More Jets day coverage:

It’s Winnipeg Jets Day on PHT

Largely unchanged Jets will have tough time in reloaded Central

  1. pavelfitzgerald - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Spot on Joe!
    If you watch Pav’s play you will be amazed at some of the ridculous, athletic saves he makes on a nightly basis but .. .. you would also notice how he often puts himself in poor positioning to have to make that save.
    Lastly, you would also notice how he will make a brilliant save one play & let in an awful goal a minute later. If he can shore up his fundamentals & improve his positioning he would he sooo muh better, but as he enters his late-20’s you wonder if it is too late

    • pfpmb - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:27 AM

      Women love Pavs because he over commits.

  2. 950003cups - Aug 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    LOLOL. The worst pressure is on Schneider. He bounced Brodeur off the team. Finally gets a chance to be a starter. Just signed through the next eight years for $46,000,000 ($42 mil for 7 years, and $4 mil for next year) without ever facing the real pressures of a true number one.

    That’s pressure.

    • bcsteele - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      …give the Jets fans their day ‘cups

      • 19to77 - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Don’t blame him. After all the attention they got the season before last, it’s just gonna take Devils fans a couple seasons to get used to mediocrity and repeat playoff misses.

      • 950003cups - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        NJ is back in action. They’ll win a cup in the next three years. Your rags? Heading to complete regression. Happy days are here again!!!!

      • 19to77 - Aug 2, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        You can keep saying it if you want, I guess, but like I told you last time you asked, I’m still not a Rangers fan.

        As for the Devils’ Cup prospects… dude, seriously, not even Lou Lamoriello believes that. Three years? What, is Adam Henrique going to turn into a 40-goal scorer overnight? Are Elias and Jagr going to start aging in reverse? Of roster players aged 28 or younger, only two had more than 30 points, and their top two scorers are a combined 81 years old. Their offense is carried by guys on the wrong side of 30 and their prospect system is ranked 26th in a 30-team League, so hope for the future is out the window as well. Schneider’s not the second coming of Hasek, dude. And he’d have to be to give the Devils any chance at a Cup in your timeframe.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 2, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        The Devils will win a Cup in 3 years?? My god you are delusional! It’s not enough that in every article that has NOTHING to do with NJ you always have to bring up your Devils, but to say that is laughable. New Jersey is hardly even a middle of the road playoff team. Let’s just look at some of your major contributors: Jagr (42), Elias (38), Clowe (31), Ryder (34), Zubrus (36), Zajac (29), Cammalleri (32), Havlat (33), Ruutu (31), Brunner (28)… yeah that’s a forward group really on the upswing! Henrique is the only future building block in place and making a difference up front. And then on the blueline it’s guys like Greene (31), Harrold (31), Salvador (38), Zidlicky (37), and a 28yr old goalie who has never been a full/time starter in his life.

        Yeah that roster is gonna have Boston, Tampa, Chicago, LA, and Anaheim shaking in their boots. The whole Devils core is getting ready for their AARP benefits.

    • pfpmb - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:31 AM

      Isn’t this article about Ondrej Pavelec and the Jets? Come on people, wait till NJ and Philly have there day on PHT.

  3. mthor24 - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    If the Jets had average to above average goaltending last season they’re a playoff team.

    • 19to77 - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      I’m not so sure. I mean, maybe they scrape in as a #7-8 seed, but do they go anywhere? Their best centre is Brian Little, Kane is annual trade bait and they don’t have much going on at defense after Enstrom and Trouba. Hell, they didn’t have a single 30-goal or 70-point scorer last year. So they had an unremarkable offense and defense going along with outright bad goaltending. A clutch goalie could probably drag that roster to the first round, sure, but you can say the same of the Canucks, Devils or Hurricanes. They’re still not even close to contending.

  4. 950003cups - Aug 2, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I do to think there are any Jets fans on PHT. I’m sure they’re flooding the Canadian sites.

    • pfpmb - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:33 AM

      I’m here, just laughing at ignorant “journalists” and “real” NHL fans.

  5. sgs32 - Aug 2, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Brodeur to the Jets if the gm would actually make a move, to rely on Pavelec is too risky, besides that their team is hardly good enough in a loaded Central

    • govtminion - Aug 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM

      You know what? That actually makes some sense. Because I’ll definitely agree with you, Pavelec isn’t getting the job done. At best, having Brodeur around pushes him to get better and helps him learn. And if nothing else, well, Marty gets the net, Pavelec goes to the bench and the trade block, and Winnipeg knows what their key draft need is next summer. I guess it depends on how much money Brodeur would want for basically a backup role, and if he’s willing to risk being the #2 guy. (Kind of the situation Giguere had when he first got into Colorado with Varlamov)

      • 19to77 - Aug 2, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        Look at it this way – there’s nowhere he can go where he’ll have weaker competition than Pavelec, so Winnipeg’s basically the best shot he could get at taking the starting reins. If I were Chelvedayoff I’d do it purely to remind fans that yes, the team does in fact HAVE a general manager.

      • pfpmb - Aug 3, 2014 at 12:38 AM

        Yes, the Jets KEY draft need for next year is a goalie because NHL teams start soooooooo many 18 year old, rookie goalies. Every team should draft goalies every year. Please do some research and check out the Jets top shelf prospects in goal. The Jets have been drafting goalies who are about a year or so away from being NHL ready.

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