The Jets’ goaltending situation still seems like kind of a mess


There are so many good goaltenders in the NHL right now that there are usually only a small handful of teams that enter the regular season with a major question mark at the position.

Every year one of those teams seems to be the Winnipeg Jets.

Right now the Jets’ goaltending situation is a three-headed monster made up of veteran and long-time starter Ondrej Pavelec, and Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck. All three goalies saw significant playing time a season ago (mainly due to injury).

On Wednesday coach Paul Maurice did not seem ready to fully commit to a plan for his goalies for this season, whether it be a rotation of all three, or running one starter for 72 games. What he did say, via Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, is that when it comes to goalies you can’t make a decision and “give a guy a job based on two or three weeks,” and that the “body of work will have a bigger impact on your overall view.”

Reading between the lines here, that sure makes it sound like that it will once again be Pavelec’s job, and that he is not quite ready to turn the net over to one of the two young goalies in the organization that could potentially be a long-term answer in net.

Talking about body of work. Not giving somebody a job based on a small sampling. What other conclusion could it be?

The problem with the “body of work” angle for the Jets is that the overall body of work for Pavelec, when compared to his peers around the league, is not a particularly strong one.

Of the 61 goalies that have played at least 100 games since the start of the 2009-10 season (when Pavelec first became a regular starter) his .908 save percentage is 47th in the NHL. Many of the 14 goalies below him are no longer in the NHL. He’s had five seasons with at least 30 games played and a save percentage lower than .910. Nobody else has had more than three. The only others that had three were a rapidly declining Martin Brodeur, Ilya Bryzgalov, Mathieu Garon, and Steve Mason.

Since their move from Atlanta the Jets have been painfully slow to break up the roster that produced so many losing seasons as the Thrashers (it took them multiple years before they actually made an NHL player for NHL player trade in Winnipeg). It has only been over the past two years or so that they have started to overhaul the roster and bring up more players from the farm system. Pavelec has been one of the Atlanta guys they have been especially loyal to, and it has continued to cost them in the standings as they get goaltending that is consistently below the league average without anybody really being given an opportunity to seriously challenge him.

It does not seem to be on the verge of changing anytime soon, and that would probably not be good news for the Jets.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.