For any teams considering Ondrej Pavelec as a potential backup goaltending option for this season, they’ll have to look elsewhere. The 31-year old goaltender announced his retirement today on Instagram, ending his NHL career after 398 regular season games.
Originally selected in the second round of the 2005 draft, Pavelec quickly made an impression on the Atlanta Thrashers and made his NHL debut soon after his 20th birthday. He would eventually take over as the starter in Atlanta, and be a big part of the first season in Winnipeg after the city’s team returned in 2011. Though he’d continue to start for the Jets, Pavelec was never really able to establish himself as an upper echelon goaltender in the NHL. During his best season in 2014-15, he took the Jets to the playoffs but was swept in four games while allowing fifteen goals.
This past season Pavelec finally departed the only franchise he ever knew and played as the backup for Henrik Lundqvist in New York. In 19 games he recorded a .910 save percentage, but wasn’t retained and became an unrestricted free agent. Though it seems early for Pavelec hang up his pads, former Thrashers beat writer Ben Wright shared on Twitter that the goaltender “always said he’d stop when it wasn’t fun anymore.”