|Pavelec had a 2.91 GAA, .906 save percentage this season. (Getty Images)|
As far as getting players -- and coaches -- from the NHL, this has been one of, if not the best summer for the KHL in its ongoing battle to rival the North American league. And it's nowhere near done yet.
The latest target is a new name to the possible KHL defectee list: Ondrej Pavelec.
The Winnipeg Jets goalie is scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 1, but a report out of the Czech Republic — referenced by Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night during the Satelite Hot Stove segment — has suggested that SKA St. Petersburg has made him an offer.
As per usual, I am not going to doubt the validity of the report itself, that a KHL team is going to make an offer to Pavelec. Instead I look at whether or not I think he would actually go.
He's just 24 and has established himself as the Jets' No. 1 goalie. That's a lot of potential to build on for Winnipeg, so keeping him around is clearly a priority. I think they would make it very difficult if needed for Pavelec to leave. Moreover, I have no idea how interested Pavelec would be in leaving the NHL, period. Numerous players are in the NHL instead of the KHL because they want to be in the NHL.
On the other hand, the silence of Pavelec's agent Allan Walsh -- now there's a surprise, Walsh remaining quiet -- who only said he has no comment on Pavelec, can raise an eyebrow. It's the old Fifth Amendment argument, by taking it and not incriminating yourself many take that as a sign that you just incriminated yourself. And having been born in Czechoslovakia, playing closer to home might be alluring.
Still, I just can't imagine the Jets losing Pavelec to the KHL.