The point of this series is to consider both the fun and the weird things that have impacted a team. Here’s one that was honestly a real sticking point for the Jets first few seasons in Winnipeg. The team had deficiencies; how could they not when you see what Atlanta built, but they had one major game-changer in a bad way: Ondrej Pavelec.
Pavelec was a controversial figure in Winnipeg during his years minding the Jets net. He made a lot of spectacular saves and then let in a lot of horrible goals. Pavelec’s issue was he was never in good enough position to make the easy saves and was constantly pulling himself out of position to make them. It was a very annoying thing that happened too often.
What would have happened if Ondrej Pavelec had been good? They probably would have had a better record some seasons and might have won a playoff game earlier. Maybe they would have made the playoffs faster. On the other hand, they probably would not have Josh Morrissey, Jacob Trouba before they traded him, and Connor Hellebuyck might not be as great as he is now. It’s a weird paradox of a question.
If Ondrej Pavelec had been a better goalie when he was with the Jets, the Jets would have been a better team. Because he was not a good goalie, the Jets ended up being a better team long-term because of the high draft picks they got when he was a goalie. Weird, weird times.