Pavelec is right — ‘it’s time to make the playoffs’ for Winnipeg

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They don’t get a ton of attention playing in the NHL’s smallest market, but that doesn’t change the fact there’s a ton of pressure on the Winnipeg Jets to make the playoffs in 2013-14.

Just ask goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

“It’s the third year in Winnipeg after we moved from Atlanta,” said Pavelec, per the Winnipeg Free Press. “Last year after the lockout we were close, but that wasn’t good enough. This year I think we have the team to make the playoffs. I thought we did last year but we just didn’t make it. This year I think is the time to do it.

“I think it was a great summer for the Jets and [GM Kevin Cheveldayoff] did a great job. [Devon] Setoguchi is going to score some goals and is a very good player. Same thing with [Michael] Frolik. We signed some big guys. Now it’s time to make the playoffs.”

As the paper points out, Jets ownership committed $93 million this summer to re-sign forwards Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler and defenseman Zach Bogosian. Add it up and Winnipeg’s payroll is not far removed from the league’s biggest spenders.

That probably won’t be the case when the salary cap goes up in the coming years, so this post-lockout season — a season when the big spenders have been hamstrung by the lowered cap — may be an opportunity for the Jets.