The Winnipeg Jets must lock up Ondrej Pavelec

According to multiple reports, SKA St. Petersburg is in pursuit of acquiring Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. It has roughly been only two months since the Jets last played a game, but this is already the second time rumors of a KHL team going after one of their players has popped up. If in case you were wondering, there isn’t really any news on Alexander Burmistrov.

Posting a goals against average of 2.91 and a save percentage of .906, Pavelec had an unspectacular season. Despite the average numbers, some praised the Czech netminder as the team’s MVP, bringing to mind some of the solid performances he had down the stretch as the Jets pushed for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. For as many really good games Pavelec would have, he still had the propensity to serve up some duds as well. The game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in late March comes to mind, as well as the night he yielded a couple of softies to the New York Rangers.

As up-and-down Ondrej Pavelec was last season, he was able to establish himself as a decent starting goaltender at just 24-years-old. Most hockey fans understand that goalies commonly take more time to develop and this was his first season as a true workhorse #1. He’s shown enough flashes of brilliance and athleticism to believe there are better seasons ahead of him. What he needs to work on his eliminating the poorly-timed soft goal, maintaining his focus more consistently and staying confident.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Pavelec has yet to sign a new contract, as he is a client of Allan Walsh, who is essentially the NHL’s version of Drew Rosenhaus or Scott Boras. Pavelec’s cap hit was $1.15 million last season and he is due to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Without a #1 goalie under contract for next season or the future, the Jets must not let Pavelec slip away. That being said, they should not make the mistake that the Columbus Blue Jackets made in throwing $2.9 million per year at Steve Mason. If I’m the GM, I’m hoping to sign Pavelec for a three-year deal with a cap hit somewhere in the $2-2.4 million range. However, with Walsh as his agent and leverage of a rumored KHL offer, it may not be easy for the Jets to bring back Ondrej Pavelec.

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