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Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec returning to Canada after Czech contract runs out

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com
Pavelec didn't fare so well in 14 games playing in the Czech league. (Getty Images)

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was one of the rare goalies who found a job and headed overseas during the lockout. He returned to his native Czech Republic to mind the nets for Liberec Bili Tygri HC in the Czech league.

They have hit the midseason break already, but it looks like that will be the full season for Pavelec. His contract, which was up Nov. 4, won't be renewed. From Sportsnet:

"I had a contract to Nov. 4, and now that I saw that the NHL season could be saved, I think I'll probably go back to Canada," Pavelec told iSport.cz (translated). He said he also felt bad about taking up a roster spot that could be used to sign another goaltender.

Perhaps it really is as straightforward as that. Despite how pessimistic things feel with this lockout, there certainly has been progress made. Hopefully, a season really isn't that far away.

But there's not a whole lot of evidence to suggest it's really close, either. It could be a matter of Pavelec not playing very well. He started slow for Liberec and never really got it going. In 14 games he had a goals against average of 3.52 and a .896 save percentage. That's not very good, particularly for an NHL goalie playing overseas, in case you needed to be told that.

Just a reminder: Pavelec is the starting goaltender for the Jets who just signed a five-year contract worth $3.9 million per year. Considering he had a 2.91 GAA and .906 save percentage last season for the Jets, his production for Liberec has to be a touch concerning. However, he did play well in two games for the national team, so there's that.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @StubitsCBS on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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