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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Pavelec experienced a rocky 2016-17 season, getting waived by Winnipeg coming out of training camp and then toiling away in the AHL for the first half of the season. The athletic netminder earned a call-up in January -- going 4-4-0 with a 3.55 GAA -- only to suffer a concussion and then a knee injury that cost him the rest of the year. Pavelec spent a decade with the Thrashers/Jets, but he should benefit from a defined role as the backup to Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers, who ranked fifth in the league in team goal differential last season. While he’s unlikely to provide many showstopping moments, Pavelec at least stands a chance of being a serviceable option when the King needs a breather in 2017-18.
Pavelec enters a contract year with two capable netminders at his heels, which could push the 28-year-old to step his performance up in 2016-17. Last year, the Czech notched an unspectacular 13-13-4 record, .904 save percentage and 2.78 GAA. Splitting time with the younger Michael Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck already limits his fantasy value, and even with more experience, the starting role isn’t guaranteed for an entire campaign. 2014-15 was an exciting year for Pavelec, and if he can rekindle that fire (which included a playoff run), the netminder could prove to be a steal late in drafts. However, the best recommendation would be to avoid this situation until one goalie emerges as the leader of the pack.
Pavelec had a strange 2014-15, as he was locked into a goaltender platoon with Michael Hutchinson for much of the season, losing his job entirely at times, but emerged as theJets' No. 1 netminder in the final two months of the campaign. Winnipeg will likely employ some sort of goaltender rotation to begin this season, as Hutchinson has probably earned the right to see semi-regular action. However, Pavelec will enter the 2015-16 season as the Jets’ starting goaltender, and he'll likely get every chance to gain a stranglehold on the job if he can outperform early on. If Pavelec is able to replicate his performance from the second half of last season, he could represent a sneaky value pick for fantasy owners.
Just about any way you look at it, Pavelec has underachieved since signing a five-year, $19.5 million contract with the Jets two summers ago. After a middling 2012-13 campaign, he qualified as an even bigger disappointment last season, finishing with a 3.01 GAA, .901 save percentage and a record of 22-26-7 in 57 appearances. He’s never been a great NHL netminder, but last year’s numbers were some of the worst of his career. Add to that the fact that he mysteriously didn’t start in net for the Czech Republic team in their opening game during the Sochi Olympics, and it's difficult to be bullish about Pavelec's chances of staging a dramatic turnaround. He enters training camp as the Jets' starter in goal once again, but with a defensive corps that’s essentially the same, Pavelec may be hard-pressed to emerge as anything more than a middle-tier fantasy goalie. In fact, if Pavelec struggles out of the gate, it wouldn't be a surprise if coach Paul Maurice chose to pull the plug on the veteran, particularly with up-and-coming backup Michael Hutchison representing an intriguing alternative in goal following his impressive run in light action with the Jets at the tail end of last season.
Pavelec started 43 of 48 games last season and finished with 21 wins. Although he won six of his last nine starts to finish the season, he was a bit inconsistent and the Jets as a team let a Southeast Division lead crumble at the hands of a red hot Washington Capitals squad. As much as he failed to record a shutout last season, his 2.80 goals against average and .905 save percentage are par for the course for Pavelec these days. It'll take 30+ wins and 65+ games played on Pavelec's part for the Jets to make the playoffs. Given the honeymoon is over for fans in Winnipeg who wanted the team back, expect Pavelec to deliver on those numbers this upcoming season.
Among the league's top-25 goaltenders with respect to minutes played 2011-2012, Pavelec's save percentage, .906, and goals-against average of 2.91 left a little to be desired. He posted a 29-28-9 record on a team that struggled defensively at times. Though the Jets inked the Czech netminder to a five year deal worth $19.5 million in June, do not expect Winnipeg's commitment to his usage moving forward to translate into stellar numbers in this coming season. Remember his name after most of the league's starting goaltenders have been selected.
Pavelec had the best year of his career last season, putting up 21 wins and four shutouts while keeping his goals against average under three (2.73). Last November, it looked like he might have a shot at the 30-win mark but the team as a whole cooled off in the second half. He'd make a good pick based on potential once the more elite goalies are swallowed up in the draft.
Sharing the goaltending duties with Johan Hedberg last season, Pavelec posted 14 wins in 40 starts. Though he did at times show an ability to keep his team in games last year, Pavelec has yet to prove that he can be a consistent starting goalie in the NHL. Having said that, Pavelec is still very young for a goaltender and should come along nicely in the next few years. Pavelec should get 25-30 starts and lower his goals against average with an improved defense in front of him. It’s not out of the question for him to win 20 games if he can steal some starts from Chris Mason.
Pavelec, Atlanta's second round pick in 2005, isn't an elite goaltending prospect, but he should eventually be an NHL starter. Kari Lehtonen was shaky at times last season, so it's still possible that Pavelec could be the Thrashers' starting goalie one day. Yet due to Lehtonen's presence on the roster, Pavelec is a candidate to be traded.
He was selected 41st overall in the 2005 Entry Draft and is the Thrashers best goalie prospect but when you're behind Kari Lehtonen on the depth chart you can't be expecting much playing time. In a few years only an injury or trade will result in any value for Pavelec.
With a goalie like Kari Lehtonen it’s surprising that the Thrashers would use their second pick in the 2005 draft to select another netminder, but that’s exactly what happened when they selected Pavelec with the 41st overall pick. The big item on his resume is his impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Under-18 Championship, where he was named top goaltender and had a 2.05 goals against average and .932 save percentage. He’s only 19 years old but looks like he is on his way to being a solid NHL goalie. He is projected to spend 2005-06 in the CHL so is still a number of years away from the NHL.
This entertaining acrobat essentially carried his Czech Republic Under-18 team to a fourth-place finish at the world championship in April and was rewarded with a showing on the all-tourney team. He's athletic and highly competitive, and could ultimately perform better than fellow draftees, Carey Price and Tukka Rask.