Free agency often carries its fair share of surprises, but even so, many eyebrows were raised when the Winnipeg Jets handed Ondrej Pavelec a five-year, $19.5 million contract.
To some, this is a bewildering gamble even if you ignore his troubling off-the-ice incident.
Colorado Avalanche day featured a piece on Semyon Varlamov’s up-and-down career, yet that Russian netminder looks Brodeur-level stable compared to Pavelec’s schizophrenic play.
Many NHL goalies will see some considerable differences between the numbers they put up in wins vs. loses, but “good Pavelec” vs. “bad Pavelec” is a sight to behold.
Pavelec in wins last season: 30 games, .942 save percentage, 1.77 GAA and four shutouts.
Pavelec in losses last season: 38 games, .878 save percentage, 3.84 GAA and zero shutouts.
Overall, Pavelec was average (at best) in 2011-12, sporting a 29-28-9 record with a .906 save percentage and 2.99 GAA.
Those numbers are right around his career averages, with only one season (2010-11) where one might argue that he put up solid stats.
Usually when an NHL team makes a big investment in a No. 1 goalie, they do so crossing their fingers that the guy will maintain his level of play.
In this case, the Jets are hoping that he gets a lot better. He’s young enough, but like Pavelec during one of his highlight reel saves, Winnipeg is making a big leap of faith.