Fantasy Hockey 2013: Could Ondrej Pavelec Emerge This Year?
When choosing a fantasy goaltender for your roster, one of the most important aspects is consistency. You want to look at your roster, see your netminder in your lineup, and feel confident that he gives you a chance to win each and every night. Guys like Henrik Lundqvist come to mind, but could there be another up-and-coming player between the pipes?
Last season, Ondrej Pavelec of the Jets showed some serious flashes, posting monster numbers for a certain period of time. I mean, watching some of the highlight clips of this guy on Youtube, you can tell how much talent is truly there. He’s won the Jets games by standing on his head many times. Pavelec would go on runs throughout the season where he looks unstoppable, but with young goalies, there is massive upside along with inconsistency. Looking back at the numbers, Pavelec would have various three-game stretches where he would win all three games, posting an incredible save percentage. If you look back at his last three seasons, his stats aren’t exactly anything to write home about. He’s averaging a GAA of 2.81, a save percentage of .908 and just over 23 wins. However, after seeing how immensely talented this guy is, you can tell that a breakout is looming.
At just 26-years old, Pavelec is entering his prime. That alone makes me pretty intrigued to add him to my fantasy roster. However, the Jets roster needs to continue to improve for Pavelec to take another step forward between the pipes. In the last two seasons, Winnipeg’s penalty kill has been towards the bottom of the league, and while their offensive weapons are exciting, their defensive unit needs to make a statement, Guys like Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom have boatloads of talent, and physical blueliner Zach Bogosian will look to rebound from an injury-ridden 2012 season. There is boatloads of young talent all over this team, and if they continue to progress like they have been over the last few seasons, Pavelec will reap the benefits. Keep in mind that Pavelec very quietly tied for first with Lundqvist and Antti Niemi in starts last season with 43. That volume is a very appealing part of selecting a fantasy goalie. You want a netminder that doesn’t have a backup threat, and obviously the more you are in net, the more opportunity of wins. Consistency is key for Pavelec, and if he can remove the streaky play and add a nightly consistency to his game, he will 100 percent take that next step this season. He is still very young, especially for goalies, and he has really only been “the guy” between the pipes for a few seasons now. The talent is clearly evident, and if the Jets can stay healthy, this will be as playoff club, and Pavelec and fantasy owners will be rewarded handsomely.
Consider him a strong number two goalie with massive upside.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.