Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jets All Out Top 25: #4 Ondrej Pavelec

Ondrej Pavelec, 24, Goalie, 6'3, 220 lbs
Last Year's Rating: N/A This Year's Rating: #4 Difference: N/A

As the go-to starter for the upcoming season, Ondrej Pavelec has morphed into the goalie that many perhaps did not see coming.

Or did they?

Pavelec had a starring role when he came over to North America with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

In two seasons with the QMJHL team, Pavelec led the team to the playoffs, losing in the third round in his second year, and posted 27-18 and 28-11 seasons back-to-back.

It's no wonder the Jets hired Pavelec's old head coach from Cape Breton - Pascal Vincent - because of his familiarity with the young goalie and his early success.

After his junior days, Pavelec moved to the organization that drafted him 41st overall in 2005 - the Atlanta Thrashers - and their farm team in Chicago.

There again, he would play a starring role, playing in 52 games, going 33-16-3 with a 2.77 goals against average and a .911 save percentage as the Wolves would also make their way through to the Calder Cup Finals, defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the final.

The 2008-09 season was not as kind to Pavelec or the Wolves as he finished the season as the main starter, with a 18-20-2 record despite a 2.58 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.

Through his first two professional seasons, Pavelec got a taste of the NHL, playing in 19 games between 2007-08 and 2008-09.

In 2009-10, Pavelec made the NHL full-time, splitting duties with veteran Johan Hedberg, and going 14-18-7 with a 3.29 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

Last season, Pavelec was given the starter's job with newly acquired Chris Mason behind him.

Despite early seasons injury problems that saw him miss all but 58 games, Pavelec went 21-23-9 with a 2.73 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.

After great junior seasons and a first professional hockey season to remember, Ondrej Pavelec has struggled to find his ground making the adjustment to the NHL.

However, last season showed promise when he posted over 20 wins in the NHL and proved that he could be counted on as the number one goalie.

Now, in Winnipeg, Pavelec will have a hockey mad crowd behind him every night as motivation to become that destined number one goalie the Jets can rely in long into the future.

An RFA next off-season, Pavelec is a large piece of the Jets puzzle for the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment