How does one review Ondrej Pavelec’s season with the Winnipeg Jets? They do not. Instead, consider this a retrospective of his time with the Jets and all the times people chanted his name for making a save while out of position. All the times Pavelec was hailed as the team MVP for being a below average goaltender and all the times he struggled and the team in front of him was blamed for his poor play. Yes, it has been a slice.
Pavelec came to the Jets with the rest of the Atlanta Thrashers. He had always been a mediocre goalie and that he has remained. Pavelec and the Jets is an odd relationship. There should have been a shorter leash on Pavelec ever since it was exposed that he did not disclose that he had crashed his car while driving drunk and had been charged with a DUI in the Czech Republic before signing his five year, $19 500 000 contract with the Jets in 2012. It seemed like none of this mattered as long as he was in the goal making improbable saves because he is out of position.
This year Pavelec was called up to help fix the Jets goaltending issues, which is patently absurd because he is usually the cause of those issues. Pavelec played in eight NHL games this year and achieved a shockingly bad 0.888 save percentage in this time. In 18 games in the AHL he had a 0.917. Still not stellar. So what does this say about Pavelec? Not a whole lot. Pavelec has not been a good goalie for the Jets outside of one season and the narrative that he had fixed their season when he won four games because the Jets scored three or more goals in those games. Furthering this thought, the only good season that Pavelec has had with the organization was in 2014-2015 when he posted a 0.920 in 50 starts. He was good that year.
Where does this all leave the Jets? While after waiving Pavelec to start the season it is easy to say that they are saying “adios” to him, even though they called him up during the year. There was no market for him, no one traded for him, and he finished the season injured. It is quite possible that he will not be in the NHL next year and will not even be offered an amateur try out to start the season. Pavelec has rarely been an average NHL goalie during the span of his Thrashers/Jets career and has only been above average once in his NHL career.
This is almost definitely the end of Pavelec’s career as a Jet and what a career it was. From the adventures in goaltending he gave us to the death glares at teammates when a goal was scored, Pavelec was a lot of things, even if he was rarely good. It is this player that the Jets are most likely losing. He will not be protected by the Jets in the expansion draft as he is a UFA this off-season.
So this is goodbye to the goalie who might have tried hard, but was rarely close to good enough. He cost the Jets wins and possible playoff births. He was rarely good and often bad. He will be missed by a few, but not by all.