Winnipeg Jets: Who Will Back Up Ondrej Pavelec Next Season?

Winnipeg Jets Pavelec

Bruce Fedyck – USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets showed this season that they are very close to being a playoff contender. They enter the summer with a lot of free agents, and that could drastically change the look of the team in coming seasons. One player who isn’t likely to go anywhere is goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who has been with the franchise his entire career and put together a decent 2013 season. He is signed to a long-term deal at under $4 million per season, which continues to be a bargain considering how many games he plays.

Pavelec has never put up mind-blowing stats, but this season he managed a 21-20-3 record with a 2.80 goals-against average. He not only played in 44 of 48 games this season, but earned a decision in each of those contests as well. The role of backup was filled by Al Montoya this season, and the journeyman went 3-1-0 with a 2.90 goals-against. He’s set to be an unrestricted free agent, and could see some interest from other teams willing to give him more of a shot. If the price stays under $1 million, he’d be an intriguing option for the Jets to keep around.

Edward Pasquale, Chris Carrozzi and Mark Dekanich are all set to be free agents as well. Those three represent the most professional experience of any goaltenders in the system, though there isn’t one of them with much experience at the NHL level. That could have the Jets hitting the free agent market and looking for an experienced veteran at a reasonable price, and this should be a good year to find one.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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