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Winnipeg Jets Goaltender Performance Tracker: Ondrej Pavelec (Update)

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The words "goalie controversy" have been spoken more and more often among the Winnipeg media lately... is it warranted?

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

It's been an interesting few weeks for the Winnipeg Jets. There have been some ups and some downs, but Ondrej Pavelec has managed to keep his save percentage above the critical .915 mark. Yet the number has been on a down slide since the start of November and the words "goalie controversy" have been tossed around quite often among those who follow the Jets.

That slide, combined with the fantastic play of Michael Hutchinson, have combined to cause a lot of that chatter around Winnipeg, but I'm not so convinced that those are the only components to this phenomenon. In response many of his numbers have changed since my last post, with a few of them not leaning so much in his favour.

The Basics

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Shots Against

419

99

518

Saves

388

88

476

Goals Against

31

11

42

Save Percentage

.926

.889

.919

As I alluded to earlier, Pavelec's overall numbers have dropped in the past three weeks. When you break things down though, it's pretty clear that this has largely been due to his play on the penalty kill. Pavelec's 26th ranked (of all NHL goalies) even strength save percentage has stayed constant thus far, but it was all but guaranteed that his special teams save percentage would drop off. Compare that to Hutchinson's second overall even strength save percentage, and you see where a big difference lies. Now, I'm not going to go as far as to say that that is the only reason things have looked iffy, but it has been a factor.

Situations

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Odd Man Rush

29% (9)

18.2% (2)

26.2% (11)

Sustained Pressure

22.6% (7)

54.5% (6)

31% (13)

Average Play/Breakout/OZ Faceoff

32.3% (10)

27.3% (3)

31% (13)

Turnover in Zone

16.1% (5)

0%

11.9% (5)

The situations leading to goals against the Jets has started to even off a little bit. After a pretty horrific start from the Jets defensively, they have been able to seriously cut back on odd man rush opportunities, and have started to force opponents to really work for their goals. Breakdowns have still been happening, but they haven't been leading to nearly as many terrific chances against. Let's see if Pavelec can maintain his play alongside this improvement.

Reasons

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Bad Break/Deflection/Traffic

19.4% (6)

18.2% (2)

19% (8)

Out of Position

22.6% (7)

18.2% (2)

21.4% (9)

Rebound

12.9% (4)

27.3% (3)

16.7% (7)

Beat Clean - Goalie @ Fault

9.7% (3)

0%

7.1% (3)

Beat Clean - Goalie Not Faulted

35.5% (11)

36.4% (4)

35.7% (15)

This is where things have been starting to look a little less than optimal for Ondrej Pavelec lately. After a solid run at the end of October that saw most of these fields looking fantastic for Pavs, his last few weeks have managed to do the opposite. He's been out of position a bit more often and his rebound control has been pretty questionable at times. Again, that's not dismissing some of the errors he has had to deal with, but they are things that have continued to be problems throughout his career.

Goal Locations

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Five Hole

12.9% (4)

9.1% (1)

11.9% (5)

Glove Hand

25.8% (8)

27.3% (3)

26.2% (11)

Blocker Side

38.7% (12)

27.3% (3)

35.7% (15)

Left Pad

0%

0%

0%

Right Pad

9.7% (3)

0%

7.1% (3)

Open Net

12.9% (4)

36.4% (4)

19% (8)

Nothing new here, as Ondrej's blocker continues to be his achilles heel. I'm also a little concerned about how many goals have been going into wide open nets. That's usually a result of being out of position or giving up bad rebounds, so it's never a good thing.

Evidence

School is a gong show right now so I only have a few good examples to break down for you all, but I think they encapsulate both the defensive, and the goaltending issues that Pavelec has had to deal with.

Goal 1 @ Ottawa (Nov. 8th)

Full disclosure, this is more of a "point out the ridiculous tendencies of Mark Stuart that tend to get overlooked by everyone" goal than anything else. Hard to really blame Pavelec for this at all, but it shows what he had to deal with a lot early in the season.

Everything starts off fine here. Ottawa is on the power play, but the Jets have them outnumbered and the assignments are pretty obvious.

Or so you would think. I have absolutely no idea what Mark Stuart was thinking here as he decides to dismiss his man, and cross in front of Trouba in an attempt to hit the puck carrier.

It clearly fails, annnnnnd breakaway goal.

If this happened once in a blue moon, that's fine. Well, not this exact situation, but this kind of decision making. Being aggressive at times is good. It's how you catch the opponent off guard and wind up with a big hit, a turnover, and usually something good. The problem is Stuart makes decisions like this on a regular basis. He can't keep up with forwards coming down on him, so he tries to stand them up. Heck, he throws his knee out on guys on a regular basis. This almost never works for him, as he still gets beat and gives up the blue line way too often. It needs to stop.

Goal 1 @ Minnesota (Nov. 16th)

Alright. Before I show these next two goals I have to say this. Ondrej Pavelec should have never been in this game. It was the second half of a back to back, the games were less than 24 hours apart, and Pavelec's record in those situations is well known to be brutal. The team looked exhausted in the first, and I don't want people thinking I blame Pavelec for this.

BUT

There are a couple things that need to be made clear about his performance in that first period.

The first situation was set up following a Jets failed attempt to clear the zone during an early Minnesota powerplay. The puck was quickly cycled to Vanek down low, who was able to rapidly shuffle it to Niederreiter in the slot. Obviously not the optimal defensive situation.

As Nino carries the puck, Pavelec actually starts off tracking the play pretty well. He is a little behind, but he has taken away a fair amount of the net. This prevents an off balanced shot attempt.

This is where Pavelec gets himself into trouble. He over commits (a bad tendency of his) to Neiderreiter, who has at this point taken the puck below the goal line. Pavelec starts to slide out of his net, instead of staying calm and sliding to his post.

Pavelec keeps on sliding, and the puck ends up in the back of the net. Now make no mistake, this was a heck of a play by Niederreiter. But it was also an easily preventable goal had Pavelec stayed calm, and not over-compensated on the attempt.

I made this observation at the time, and although I have no proof of it I can't help but wonder. Pavelec seems to do these a lot more things in situations where the Jets defence has slipped up, or clearly looks tired. It's almost as if he feels the need to take it upon himself to be the hero in these situations, rather than just play his game. If Pavelec could just remain calm, cool and collected in these situations, I wonder how much better he could be?

Goal 3 @ Minnesota

This next goal was the third in the game for the Wild, the third in the first period, and the final goal that Pavelec would allow before being pulled at the first intermission. I think it's a good combination to display how Pavelec could have been better in the game, but also how the Jets simply did not show up until the third.

Things start off okay once again. It's a three on three break, and the Jets have managed to force the puck to the boards. Potential trouble in coming in the form of Zach Parise at centre ice, but we will get to that.

Things are starting to get a little more dangerous here, but as a whole the Jets are still actually okay. Enstrom has made an attempt to get his stick on the coming shot (which is from a distance with little traffic in front) and Bogosian is ready to take his man out of the play. Wheeler has yet to really take a look around here (he's puck watching pretty bad) and Scheifele is late getting into the play, so it's become a bit of a 4 on 2.5. I'm also not a huge fan of Pavelec's angle to his shooter in this situation. He's still pretty tight to his post side considering where the shot is coming from, but it's not terrible.

Now we have some trouble. Due to how Pavelec was positioned, he is forced to take the shot off of his blocker low, rather than swallow it up. This leaves a pretty big chance for a rebound. Wheeler's indecision earlier has also left a Zach Parise unattended right in front of the net, in prime rebound pouncing position. See where I'm going with this?

The puck bounces off of Pavelec and right to Parise, who cleans it up and puts the Wild up 3-0. A combination of poor positioning from Pavelec, and questionable decision making by Wheeler lead to another Wild goal.

Summary

Pavelec has been regressing over the past few weeks. I think it was something everyone expected to happen, and it is. The real question now is how far will it go? I don't expect him to be as bad as he ended up being last season, but with Michael Hutchinson playing as well as he is I don't think the Jets should really let it. If Pavelec can pull himself together soon, I think it's fair to let him still carry more of the workload (although I think we should be seeing somewhere around a 60-40 split in that scenario, which would leave Pav with about 50 starts this year). If it continues to fall to below league average, I believe it is in PoMo's best interest to let Hutch try things out being the starting goaltender for the Winnipeg Jets.

After all, he's had to deal with pretty similar problems and he has excelled with it.

Only time will tell what will happen, but it's fair to say the Jets season likely rides on how this story line plays out.