I just heard on the radio (TSN 1290) that David Aebischer has signed a contract with a Swiss league team.
That puts the Jets' system down two goaltenders in two days. Admittedly Aebischer wasn't going to be a difference maker for the Jets, and it is it is unlikely that he would have ever receive ice time on the big squad, but I have to wonder what the team's plan is moving forward. As of today the Jets only have two goalies under contract (Eddie Pasquale, Chris Carrozzi)and both of them are young prospects that are a couple years away from a look at the NHL.
After the jump is a look at the names and status of available goalies and where they are likely to be next year.
David Aebischer - Gone
Peter Mannino - UFA
Chris Mason - UFA
Edward Pasquale - Prospect
Chris Carrozzi - Prospect
Jason Kasdorf - Distant Prospect
Ondrej Pavelec - RFA
Even if we assume that Pavelec returns, there are a ton of question marks. Who is the NHL backup? Who is the AHL backup? Does the team bring back Mason? Is Mason worth bringing back? Do the Jets look at other goaltenders in free agency? Does the team look to draft a goaltender?
Ondrej Pavelec - It is probably wise to start with a look at the incumbent starter and the goaltender most likely to be with the Jets next year. Pavelec quickly established himself as a fan favorite despite his wildly inconsistent performances. The fact that he was more likely to allow 6+ goals than he was to record a shutout seemed to be lost on people. That said, Pavi has loads of talent. He is a big goaltender with amazing reflexes. If he can work on the positional side of his game he has elite upside. I don't see the Jets moving away from him at this point.
Chris Mason - Mason was by most accounts a servicable backup and he proved to be pretty good at beating the Carolina Hurricanes, but by the end of the season his numbers were bad. Whether this is a reflection of poor team play or poor goaltending is up for debate, but Mason has also mentioned the possibility of moving elsewhere. He wants a bigger role and he won't find it here. I believe TNSE will look to resign him, but there is very likely a better option available through free agency.
Peter Mannino - Mannino started the season as the Jets number three goaltender and he did see a little bit of ice (20 minutes, 4 saves) with the big squad. He also started the season as the Ice Caps number one net minder, but that didn't last for very long. By seasons end he had played for three teams and put up sub par numbers. I am inclined to believe thar he is on his way out. I can't see the Jets offering him another contract.
Edward Pasquale - Eddie started the season as one third of a three man rotation for the Ice Cap of the AHL. By the end of the season he was firmly entrenched as the starter and was ridden heavily down the stretch. Even better is that he excelled in this role, he put up very good numbers down the stretch and turned his game up a notch for the playoff run. After Pasquale's breakout year, most consider him to be the Jets best goaltending prospect. The consensus seems to be that Eddie has NHL upside, but even under best case scenarios he is probably a couple years away. Expect to see Eddie get a full season as the Ice Caps starter next year.
Chris Carrozzi - Carrozzi is a year older than Pasquale and a little farther behind in his development. He has had mixed results at the ECHL level, but he is coming off a very solid season where he posted a .922 SV% through 29 starts. Hopefully this is a sign that he is moving in the right direction, but 29 games isn't enough to undo a bad 2010-11. There is a chance that Carrozzi will get a look from the Ice Caps. He may have a shot at the Ice Caps back up role, but odds are he won't be seeing a ton of ice outside of the ECHL next year.
Jason Kasdorf - Kasdorf is a Manitoba boy and a 2011 draft pick. He was drafted in the 6th round as a developmental goaltender. There is no reason to believe we see him on the Jets or Ice Caps for another few years. This past year he played in 33 games for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. He posted 3.43 GAA, .894 SV% and 3 shutouts.
After looking over the field I think it is clear that the team needs an influx of talent. Whether the Jets look to fill the voids through free agency or through the draft is anybody's guess, but it appears that another body or two is a must. If they don't resign Mason, there will be an opening at both the NHL and AHL level. How should those vacancies be filled?
Personally I believe the Jets should look to add a player who can push Pavi for ice time. Somebody like Josh Harding would be a great add. Vokoun would be incredible. Even Hedberg or Clemmensen could work for next season. Drafting a goaltender in the mid to late rounds would probably be wise as well, if simply because we need talent in the system. What are your thoughts? What the Jets should do?