by Brandt Corbin
Amazing on how one day can change things. The Winnipeg Jets one night have a no brainer going into training camp, Ondrej Pavelic the starting netminder, then we’ve got veteran Chris Mason backing him up. That was it, there was no one else in the system to even consider. The next day you’ve got the tryout signing of veteran David Aebischer. The former Avalanche netminder had some shockingly great numbers in the early 2000’s, so much so during a 4 year span his g.a.a was (2.24, 1.88, 2.43 & 2.08).
As we’ve said before here on www.winnipeghockeyreport.com Chris Mason’s g.a.a last year of 3.39 is not acceptable. Are we righting off Mason? Absolutely not. But you cannot afford not to have a backup plan. What if Pavelic got hurt or if Mason is rotten in the pre-season? All other 29 teams in the league would have you over a barrel.
Lets forget about the backup spot for now, what kind of numbers do we need from Pavelic for us to make the playoffs? Is his 2010 numbers of 2.66 g.a.a good enough? That’s up in the air. Its quite clear to say this, if the Slovak puck stopper can improve to a 2.50 g.a.a and play 65 games, the chances for the team is greatly improved, so much so Pavelic would have to be mentioned in the top 10 for goalies.
Team defense needs to improve
You look at every statistic humanely possible, one of the those stats that needs to be greatly improved is shots allowed. That responsibility falls on the teams defense, and with the exception of Randy Jones or Derek Meech will be the same as last year. Some of you are rolling your eyes, but keep in the mind, the Thrashers last season allowed 50 shots or more close to 10 times.
On the backend do we have a defenseman that can stop the other teams best player? If so who would that be? All of our re-guards are offensive minded, with the exception of Mark Stuart (who is 6th on the depth chart). The mix we have is concerning and surprised it was failed to be addressed. Who do you trust to be defending a lead in the last minute? Right now I’d say Stuart and Tobias Enstrom.
Whoever is backup needs to earn us points
Right now as we speak, Mason has a 80% chance to be backup on the opening night. But I ask you this, lets say both play 2 games in the pre-season. Lets say Aebischer goes 1-0-1 with a 2.50 g.a.a and a .905, compared to Mason going 1-1 with a 3.00 g.a.a and a .900%. Would Aebisher’s numbers be good enough?
Whoever it is has to earn us huge points this season, last year Mason went 13-13-3, that to me is not good enough. This what Mason has going for him going into training camp, both goalies have put up great numbers before, for Mason it was 3 years ago, for Aebischer it was 8 years ago.