Rangers Sign Ondrej Pavelec

After trading Antti Raanta to the Arizona Coyotes along with Derek Stepan, the New York Rangers were looking to solidify their roster at the backup goalie position. It looks as though they were able to fill the spot through free agency as they’ve signed former Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, according to Bob McKenzie.

The deal is reportedly a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. It’s a deal that will give the Rangers a chance to test out what Pavelec has to offer as well as give Pavelec a chance to prove that he can still make it at the NHL level.

Pavelec’s Bumpy Road

Pavelec had a bumpy road through last season seeing some time in the American Hockey League (AHL) before getting the call back up to the Jets later in the year.

He played 18 games for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose finishing with a record of 8-7-2, a 2.78 goals against average and .917 save percentage. His numbers with the Jets weren’t nearly as impressive – playing just eight games with a 4-4-0 record with a 3.55 goals against average and .888 save percentage.

He’s spent his entire 10-year career with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise where’s he’s played 379 games with a sub-par record of 152-158-47. While he does have 17 shutouts over that decade and a 2.87 goals against average, his career .907 save percentage isn’t exactly starter worthy.

Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets, NHL
The Rangers could look to Pavelec to play more significant time behind the aging Henrik Lundqvist. (Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)

Pavelec was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2005, 41st overall, and made his NHL debut with the club in 2007-08.

Lundqvist’s Age Could Mean Playing Time

With Henrik Lundqvist now 35, the Rangers could be looking for a backup like Pavelec to fill in and play more minutes over the 82-game schedule. Like Montreal tried to do in 2016-17 with Carey Price, New York would ideally like to shave off some of Lundqvist’s minutes in order to keep him fresh for a playoff run.

Pavelec has shown that he can play a number of games having played 50 or more games in four of the last seven seasons – even suiting up for 68 back in 2011-12.

With a much more defensive-minded group in New York, Pavelec could better his career numbers and help the Rangers who will be looking to make one more push as the window continues to close on an aging core.