Ondrej 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 signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Rangers on Saturday, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports. The Rangers were linked to the veteran netminder prior to the opening of free agency and the two sides made the deal official Saturday. After falling out of favor in Winnipeg and playing just eight contests for the club during 2016-17, he will return to a goalie rotation in New York, albeit behind "The King" Henrik Lundqvist. It's highly unlikely he will earn consistent starts for the Rangers unless Lundqvist were to miss time due to injury.
Pavelec has been linked to the Rangers with free agency looming, Darren Dreger of TSN reports. The 29-year-old backstop will officially become an unrestricted free agent Saturday. Despite falling out of favor in Winnipeg and playing in only eight NHL contests this past season, Pavelec could be an ideal fit for a Rangers team that lost backup netminder Antti Raanta to the Coyotes in last week's trade for Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in the 2017 draft -- New York selected Swedish pivot Lias Andersson. Pavelec banked $19.5 million annually over the five years of his most recent contract, but we figure he wouldn't come close to that figure playing second fiddle to Henrik Lundqvist in the Big Apple. After all, he posted a 3.55 GAA along with a similarly weak .888 save percentage in that eight-game curtain call with the Jets.
According to Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, Pavelec (knee) will hit the free-agent market after his contract official expires, Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun reports. Considering that the Jets demoted Pavelec to the minors -- where he spent the bulk of the season -- immediately following training camp to avoid his $3.9 million cap hit, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the two sides are parting ways. The netminder was recalled in mid-January when Winnipeg was on the verge of playoff contention, and he posted a 4-4-0 record with a 3.55 GAA before a concussion, then a knee injury sidelined him for the remainder of the year. Despite that he played in a mere eight NHL contests this season, there will certainly be teams in the market for at least a backup goalie, although it's not likely the 29-year-old will get a shot at a starting role.
Updating a previous report, Pavelec is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks after having his knee scoped Monday. To say 2016-17 has been a difficult campaign for Pavelec would be an understatement at best. The netminder was relegated to the minors following training camp, ultimately spending the first three months of the year in the AHL. Once recalled, the 29-year-old was performing well and seemed to have secured the No. 1 role, only to suffer a concussion and now a knee injury. Pavelec has missed the Jets' last 10 contests due to these ailments and will miss nearly the rest of March, if not beyond. Although it hasn't happened yet, fantasy owners should expect the Czech to be placed on injured reserve in order to free up a spot on the 23-man roster.
Pavelec (undisclosed) is undergoing an operation Monday that will end his season, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. The goaltender had been dealing with a lower-body injury before being cleared for action on Mar. 2, though it's unclear whether this is the same injury that will keep him out for the remainder of 2016-17. After starting the season in the minors, Pavelec went 4-4-0 with a 3.55 GAA and .888 save percentage in eight starts with the Jets. A Jet/Thrasher for the last 10 years, Pavelec will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the season, and it's more likely than not that he'll need to find a new home for 2017-18.
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