The Winnipeg Jets have received some calls regarding goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, ESPN’s Craig Custance reports (Insider required). However, those calls have been more of the tire-kicking variety than concrete trade negotiations.
Pavelec is currently suiting up for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL where he has a 1-0-1 record with a 2.89 GAA and a .919 SV% in two games so far. It’s his first season in the minors since 2008-09 in just the second year of his pro career.
The 29 year old cleared waivers back in the preseason, in large part due to his contract. Pavelec is earning a salary of $4.75MM with a cap hit of $3.9MM in the final season of a five year deal signed back in June of 2012. The Jets also wanted youngster Connor Hellebuyck to start the season with the deal and because of Pavelec’s deal, he was the logical candidate to be waived, particularly after posting just a .904 save percentage in 2015-16.
For a trade to happen, it’s highly likely that Winnipeg will have to eat a sizable amount of salary (they’re allowed to retain up to 50%). Even so, that may be a more palatable solution for them compared to carrying a ‘buried’ cap hit of $2.95MM for Pavelec while he is in the minor leagues. Accordingly, the asking price would likely not be particularly high and may very well depend on how much other teams would want the Jets to retain.
On the surface, it would seem logical to think that Los Angeles is one of the teams that has been or will be kicking the tires on Pavelec. The Kings will be without Jonathan Quick for the next three months and currently have a tandem of Jeff Zatkoff and Peter Budaj who have both been in the minors themselves in recent seasons. Pavelec would at least give them someone who has been a starter at times in recent years and is more suited to handle a starting workload.
Of course, Winnipeg may be inclined to wait on moving Pavelec for now to see if other injuries arise to create more trade demand down the road. In the meantime, he’ll continue to suit up in Manitoba as the highest paid goaltender in the minors.