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Winnipeg Jets Goaltender Performance Tracker: Ondrej Pavelec (Update)

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This week we have our second look at the Jets starter and ask, has he really changed?

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Things have been going well for the Winnipeg Jets lately, and it would be silly to say that the play of Ondrej Pavelec hasn't been a big part of that. You can feel the optimism and hope slowly growing within Jets fans and the city of Winnipeg as a whole, with games such as last night's matchup against the Penguins seemingly turning heads all over the city.

But the question has to be asked. Is this sustainable? Yes, we all love watching this happen. The Jets winning is fun. Pavelec playing well is fun. But as Garret recently pointed out, this is far from the first time that this has happened. Ondrej Pavelec has gone on similar stretches more than a few times in his career, but he has always regressed back to his below-average standards.

What about the team defense? That's another factor that has received high praise around the city as being "much improved", although I would argue that is wasn't until early this season that hey have only recently become a major problem from top to bottom. Have the Jets magically figured everything out in a few short weeks? Is this a huge string of luck? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

Let's see what the tracking says.

The Basics

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Shots Against

271

68

339

Saves

251

62

313

Goals Against

20

6

26

Save Percentage

0.926

0.912

0.923

As would be expected based on recent results, Pavelec's basic numbers look pretty good. His shutout against the Rangers was a huge turning point for this totals, but the major factor is how high his special team save percentage has stayed. The fact that the Jets have only allowed 6 goals against in odd-man situations is quite impressive for being a month into the season. As they say, your goaltender has to be your best penalty killer. Yes, I think the systems have helped, but Pavlec has been solid.

Situations

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Odd Man Rush

40% (8)

0%

30.8% (8)

Sustained Pressure

25% (5)

66.7% (4)

34.6% (9)

Average Play/Breakout/OZ Faceoff

20% (4)

33.3% (2)

23.1% (6)

Turnover in Zone

15% (3)

0%

11.5% (3)

The odd man rush numbers are still a little higher than a team with a good defensive group would like to admit. The Jets have been able to keep the terrible turnovers to a minimum though, meaning a fair share of goals against have come due to average situations, or the opposing team doing the right things.

Reasons

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Bad Break/Deflection/Traffic

20% (4)

16.7% (1)

19.2% (5)

Out of Position

20% (4)

16.7% (1)

19.2% (5)

Rebound

10% (2)

50% (3)

19.2% (5)

Beat Clean - Goalie @ Fault

10% (2)

0%

7.7% (2)

Beat Clean - Goalie Not Faulted

40% (8)

16.7% (1)

34.6% (9)

Things are actually very well evened out here as well. Especially considering what we have seen in the past from Pavelec. In my opinion, this matches up pretty well with what I've seen in regards to his positioning. To start the year he hasn't been over-sliding and over-commitming as much as I've seen him do on a regular basis in the past, although he does seem to be going down early still.

His rebound control has been another story. I know it hasn't bit him numerically just yet, but pucks have been bouncing off of Pavelec just as much as they have before. I'll show this below, but it hasn't really hampered him statistically. Yet.

Goal Locations

Even Strength

Special Teams

Total

Five Hole

15% (3)

0%

11.5% (3)

Glove Hand

25% (5)

16.7% (1)

23.1% (6)

Blocker Side

45% (9)

33.3% (2)

42.3% (11)

Left Pad

0%

0%

0%

Right Pad

10% (2)

0%

7.7% (2)

Open Net

5% (1)

50% (3)

15.4% (4)

That blocker side is just a death wish for Pavelec. It's the side that he lets shots squeak through on a regular basis, the area that he has the most trouble controlling rebounds, and the pad he seems to love to use a little bit too much. And it costs him. He needs to clean that up. Otherwise, nothing too terrible just yet.

Evidence

This is where we are going to take a bit of a deeper look into Ondrej Pavelec. From my perspective, he still seems to be doing things that have cost him dearly in the past. That's not to discount some pretty iffy decision making by the Jets defensemen, as you will see shortly.

Goal 1 vs. Nashville (Oct. 17th)

This first goal we will look at is one that Ondrej Pavelec really cannot be blamed for. I wanted to use it to clear something up, and highlight an issue I have noticed with young Adam Lowry's play thus far.

First thing's first though. This play is all started off of a play that had Jets fans ready to throw Chris Thorburn out of a plane. Although I'm not exactly one to vouch for Thorburn, I will give him a break here.

He doesn't clear that puck, which is bad and does deserve some criticism. But you see that Predator player's stick? Yeah, it actually gets to the puck first and pokes it absolutely perfectly to his teammate at the point. It's unfortunate, but it's not as bad as what many believed to be a complete whiff on Thorburn's behalf.

But moving on. This puck getting to the point very quickly has the Jets scrambling. Why? Well, take a look above and notice how all five Jets are within the bounds of the circle? Yeah... that's a problem. Adam Lowry has ways overcommitted from where you optimally would like him to be. And oh, who's that at the bottom of the picture? Yeah... that's Seth Jones. Guess what happens when that puck gets to the point?

If you guessed "it gets quickly cycled over to Seth Jones who has loads of time and space to put the puck wherever he wants", you are a genius. This is a bit of a trend that I noticed early on in the season with Lowry, and in this instance it bit the Jets right in the bum. It hasn't bit them again since, but he still gets sucked over from time to time.

You usually don't want to give and defender, never mind Seth Jones, that much time and space because...

Now any attempt you make to get in the lane is going to be pretty easy to move around. Which Jones does. It also causes a huge mess and scramble to recover, leading to missed assignments (Perrault), easy tips for guys with NHL-level hand-eye coordination, and goals that you cannot blame on Pavelec.

Goal 1 vs. Calgary & Goal 1 vs. Nashville (Nov 4th)

I am putting these two together because both goals are the result of similar Jet mistakes. Generally as a rule, teams who are most effective at exiting the defensive zone (as well as effectively moving through the neutral zone) are able to use short, quick passes to do so. This seems to be a concept that the Jets have had a little trouble executing on a regular basis. Watch Frolik's movement on the slider below:

See how as he moves further away from the coming outlet pass, the Flames defender pinches hard? Well, what do you think happen as a result?


That's right! The puck is kept in, and suddenly Calgary has possession deep in the Jets zone, and the Jets are suddenly scrambling to recover. Then all of the sudden...

A Flames player is open in good shooting position, Pavelec pushes himself too far over and out of position, and the Flames score a goal.

Now let's look a little more recently to this past week's game against the Predators. We see a very similar play made by Blake Wheeler:

Wheeler turns and starts to leave the zone before his defender can really get a good pass out to him. This leads to the Predator sticking around and pinching hard to re-establish possession. It doesn't really result in a great chance luckily. The Jets play it well and keep Filip Forsberg to the outside so.... ew. The puck somehow gets under Pavelec's blocker arm as the shutout streak was snapped.

Goal 4 vs. Flames

These next couple instances are going to highlight something Pavelec has had plenty of problems with in the past that have greatly hampered his play: Rebounds.

This first one came in a game that was far from Pavelec's best this year. Heck, it was far from the best for a lot of guys. This one starts off with a pretty harmless situation. It's a shot from distance, no traffic, plenty of Jets around.

It hits Pavelec high, an easily catchable shot and the play should be dead.

Oh crap.

Unfortunately Stuart whiffs on his attempt to clear a bouncing puck, and suddenly a puck that should have been handled with ease, becomes a goal against due to poor rebound control.

Goal 1 vs. Colorado

This goal came at a pretty vital time against the Avalanche, immediately following a Bogosian penalty. The Avs win the initial faceoff in the offensive zone, and the defender rapidly moves the puck across the ice to set up a one-timer.

Barrie gets a lot on the shot, but Pavelec actually very effectively gets across and is in great position to swallow it up. Here's the problem though: he brings the blocker into his body. Rather than squeezing it, his blocker hits it and pops the puck up into the air.

It lands right onto McGinn's stick, who puts it right back onto, and into, the Jets net for a goal.

Rebound Sequence vs. Devils

"But Travis, he's been so much better recently!"

Well, I only partially agree. Yes, he's kept the puck out of the net, which is better. But I think on a lot of instances he's just been a lot more lucky. Look at these three circumstances against the Devils.

First, let's take a look at this shot from distance...

Turns from a freezable puck, to squeaking through Pavelec (right by his glove) and requiring a pretty lucky sprawling save:

Or how about this shot from distance?

That hits Pavelec in a similar, catchable spot that he just can't hang on to? Luckily, the Devil player couldn't cash it in because Ladd has him tied up.

Or maybe this one. (Probably the worst of them all)

Zajac takes a shot from the top of the circle with no traffic in front.

The shot (once again) hits Pavelec in his body, on the side of his blocker. And (once again) he can't control it and it gets through. Luckily, this one goes wide.

The real concern here? Pavelec seemingly has no idea where the puck was. At all.

Goal 2 vs. Tampa Bay

This final goal comes from another game where both Pavelec, and the Jets defense, looked very iffy. I think this little sequence perfectly captures the game as a whole.

We start with the Lightning coming down on Stuart and Trouba on a 3 on 2. The player at the top of the image has the puck, so he's Mark Stuart's guy. Stuart has to make sure he isn't beat wide. Trouba has the tough read here. He needs to acknowledge that Drouin is coming hard on the far side, but make sure that he doesn't leave the middle of the three players alone. If he drops off properly, he should be able to effectively shut this down.

Yet for some reason, Trouba decides to pretty much do nothing.

And very quickly things look terrible.

The hockey Gods were with the Jets on that play, because the puck takes a funny bounce and avoids Drouin's stick.

Now for the not-so-swell Pavelec part of this play. Following the missed opportunity, the Lightning are able to regain possession of the puck behind the net. (Note that Trouba STILL isn't in a very good position)

Now Pavelec gets caught guessing hard here, as for some strange reason he moves off of his post despite the puck location. And he just keeps on sliding.

Annnnnd goal.

Summary

Pavelec has been on quite the hot streak to start the season. This has led to some crazy statements of the Jets suddenly buying into Maurice's system, Pavelec finally turning the corner, and the Jets maybe actually being a playoff contending team.

I'm not convinced just yet.

I have my doubts that this team (especially this defensive unit) has suddenly turned things around in a couple of weeks. Especially when I see games like the one against the New York Rangers, where Pavelec had to stand on his head to steal a pair of points.

As I mentioned before, Pavelec has had similar stretches. It's nothing new for him, his numbers just look much nicer than ever before because it's the start of an NHL season. Things look solid from many perspectives, the numbers I showed above included. I still need a larger sample before I will jump on board. His past is just too much for me to overlook.

But hey, it's been fun to this point hasn't it?