Still Not Sold On Pavelec

When the Jets put the ink into Ondrej Pavelec's pen to sign a new five-year, $19.5 million contract this summer, my eyes rolled as far back into my head as possible.

I knew it would be a break or bust kind of deal.

But the Winnipeg Jets cannot be condemned for making this signing – Pavelec is their only real legitimate goaltender capable of being a number one.

Last year's backup Chris Mason had shown signs of aging and rust as his numbers the year before the move in Atlanta were not great (13-13-3, 3.39 GAA) and his numbers as Pavelec's backup were not anything to bank on either (8-7-1, 2.59 GAA).

Al Montoya – the Jets new backup – shows promise of a legitimate backup goalie but doesn't sport the same pedigree of a starting goalie as Pavelec has shown he can be capable of (if he plays up to potential) the last two seasons.

Pavelec's last consistently good season as a goalie came a few years back – in 2007-08 to be exact – when he went 33-16-3, 2.77 GAA leading the AHL's Chicago Wolves to a Calder Cup Championship.

Even then Pavelec's GAA wasn't the greatest and I'm unsure why anyone thought it might improve in the NHL, which sports much better players than its minor league affiliate.

Even Pavelec's junior career numbers were not extremely promising – 55-20-0, with a 2.51 GAA in two seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (oddly enough coached by Jets assistant coach Pascal Vincent).

The fact that Pavelec hasn't played a single game of playoff hockey – NHL or AHL – since 2008 has me worried if he can get the Jets there and whether he can do anything more when he does.

The main problem: inconsistency.

From a 9-8 win over Philadelphia early last season to games where the most suspect of goals would go in at the worst possible times – remembering an early December 2011 game against New Jersey.

Even recently against the Ottawa Senators, two suspect goals of the four by Ottawa were saves not made at crucial times.

It is not up to Pavelec to score the goals, but it is his job to stop the pucks.

The Jets need for consistency cannot be stressed enough and if the Jets want to compete for anything – nevermind a playoff spot – they sink or swim with Pavelec.