How long will Thrashers wait on Pavelec?

Sunday afternoon, as the Thrashers were in the process of dropping that giant steamer on the ice surface of Philips Arena, I had the pleasure of sitting on the end of the arena that Carolina defended twice. Normally I would call that the Thrashers’ “attack twice” side…but…sigh

Regardless, the position I took up allowed me to view the proceedings from behind the net Manny Legace was protecting for 2/3 of his 27-save shutout performance. As such, I couldn’t help but sarcastically utter to Smoothie and the Blueland Chronicle boys, “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to have a goalie like him in a Thrashers uniform”.

Of course my tongue-in-cheek remark alludes back to last summer when Atlanta did indeed have the veteran Legace… who turn 37-years of age last month…in camp on a professional tryout. However, he was sent on his way in favor of Ondrej Pavelec, the Thrashers next “goalie of the future”, whom it was thought could handle the load while Kari Lehtonen was nursed back to health. Start Pavs for the bulk of the games for a month or so…was the thought…then allow Kari to slide in much the same way he did a year ago when he performed so well in the second half of the season.

Things started off well enough after the brain trust of Waddell-Dudley-Anderson chose this path…Opie got off to a very strong start and Legace signed with Carolina after Cam Ward went down with a nasty cut to the groin area. He cost the Canes all of $500,000.

But round about the same time Manny began suiting up for the Canes, Opie’s performance started to drop off. More and more the team found themselves having to turn to another veteran in goal, Johan Hedberg…which was something I advocated earlier on…and by the time the Olympic break rolled around, it was clear this team’s chances for post-season play rested squarely on the back of the Moose.

Ondrej pavelec is 0-4-1 and has a .879 SV% in his last five starts (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

In his last five starts, Ondrej Pavelec is 0-4-1 and has a .879 SV% allowing 18 goals (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

In his last five starts, dating back to the 5-2 loss to Carolina on January 21, Opie is 0-4-1 and has allowed 18 goals on 149 shots, (.879 SV%). This has dropped his season record to 12-16-5 with a 3.47 GAA and .901 SV%.

Conversely, in Manny Legace’s last five starts, he is 5-0-0 and has allowed only 8 goals on 136 shots, (.941 SV%). During that stretch of games, he’s beaten such teams as Buffalo…twice by the score of 4-3…Florida and Ottawa 4-1…and of course most recently, your Atlanta Thrashers 4-0.

The season numbers… Legacy is now 9-5-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .909SV%. Pavelec is 12-16-5 with a .3.47 GAA and .901 SV%.

As for waiting for Kari Lehtonen to heal up and come to the rescue, well he did not return in October. Nor did he in November…or December…or January. Finally, Waddudleyson grew tired of waiting for the current “goalie of the future” to finally be the “goalie of the present”, decided to finally cut bait seven and a half years after using a second overall draft pick on him… and he’s now Dallas’ concern.

Obviously hindsight is 20-20…and one can argue for why Waddudlyson opted to cut lose a soon-to-be 37-year old goalie over sending Opie back to Chicago. However, ask yourself this question…right now going into a playoff drive during the last few weeks of the season…stop laughing…would you rather have seen a goalie tandem of Hedberg/Pavelec or Hedberg/Legace? I think the numbers support the latter of the two options.

But directing our attention to a more forward outlook now, I would then pose this question you those of you in the blogosphere…

With the Thrashers’ decision to finally cutting bait with Lehtonen still fresh in their minds… just how long is this organization willing to be patient with Ondrej Pavelec?

Another year?

Two seasons?

Three…?

As long as it takes?

Sure, Pavs isn’t injury-prone like Kari, but I just can’t see the Thrashers waiting around for several more years waiting for him to come around like they did the last “goalie of the future”.

As you ponder your response, consider this…if given as much time to develop as Kari, that would mean Opie has another three years before the GM…whomever that may be… runs out of patience. You willing to stick around and wait for that?

I’ll answer that question right now…no.

How long should the Thrashers continue to wait for Pavelec to finally become the team's #1 starter?

  • Another 3 years, if necessary (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Two more years, but no more (15%, 20 Votes)
  • End of next season, tops (47%, 63 Votes)
  • End of this year, then move to someone else (10%, 14 Votes)
  • His time is up already...bring in Mannino (27%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 134

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Now, maybe that’s because I, like so many of you, are still jaded from the past several years of living through the Kari Lehtonen experiment. But as I see it right now, if sometime in the future the Thrashers find themselves completely out of the playoff picture…and if last weekend is any indication of things to come, that could be as early as Sunday…I’d rather see Peter Mannino be called up from the Wolves and be given his first shot an NHL play. Never too soon to get a look at the next “goalie of the future”, ya know.

Like Pavelec, he’s scheduled to be an RFA this summer. So why not get a sneak peek at what his worth could be before deciding how much to pony up for him.

Besides, if 21-3-0 with a 2.14 GAA and .926 SV% doesn’t earn a keeper a good look-see, what does?

Looking even further down the road…when July rolls around, I would like to see Waddudlyson have a look around at some of the goalies swimming around in the UFA pool. There’s a few out there to pick and choose from…not the least of which is Thrasher-killer Antero Niittymaki.

Hey, you know what they say…if ya can’t beat ‘em, pay him to join ya.

Regardless, I’m just not prepared to wait around several more years to wait on Opie to develop…at least not at this level. Let him season a while longer in Chicago, or do what you did with Lehtonen and end the experiment…only much sooner than they did with Kari.

This Thrashers organization simply doesn’t have the time to wait for a “goalie of the future” to develop into the “goalie of today” anymore.

110 comments Add your comment

LAC

March 9th, 2010
10:20 pm

Boy I touched “rob’s” nerve !!!!!!

Rawhide, what is NEXT for this team ?

What CAN be done ?

This has to STOP and get better !

I have NO confidence in waddell to do Anything right, 10 years and a record like his UNACCEPTABLE Period !!!!

Winning is The Best Promotion there is, it is too bad these owners cannot understand
this, What are They afraid of ?

Lastly WHY do these owners continue to hide from the FANS ?

Bill this has got to change, there is NO moving forward, this team is stuck in the
quickly melting season !

Pittsburgh Pirate Fan

March 9th, 2010
10:26 pm

Well, I am finally to the point of giving up. The schedule is in the Thrashers favor and they are sucking wind.

The first thing that must happen is Don Waddell must go. This has gone on too long, way too long. He must go; people won’t come back if he is the GM because a team lead by Waddell has no hope. This team is just like the Pittsburgh Pirates-hopeless under the current management.

Stendic, no idea why you think the Thrashers leaving Atlanta is the answer-it’s not. Give us something to cheer about, which is what I though you were about anyway. Maybe that’s why you are Stendic.

Brendan

March 9th, 2010
10:28 pm

Oh God, I sense a Ranallo Warning coming. That’s a shame. I wanted people to read that earlier post.

Florida and Minnesota are in overtime, tied 2-2. I thought Minnesota had that one in hand. If the Cats win, wouldn’t that be their 3rd in-a-row? And this AFTER their ownership told Season Ticket Holders, “We goofed assessing talent this season. We’re dedicating the remainder of the season to building for the 2010-11 season.” Florida seems ‘content’ in their spoiler role. Maybe this mentality might work for the Thrashers???? It’s worth a shot.

Where is Atlanta is the standings now? 10th? 11th?

Brendan

March 9th, 2010
10:38 pm

Here’s your boxscore. http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2009020978

Notice that Oduya & Hainsey were a +1, while Popovic and Kubina were a -1. I feel terrible for Popovic. His gaffe led to the GWG for Nashville. Those are the breaks. Moose, by the way, made 30 saves tonight. Hedberg did not play a bad game. My comments about Thrasher goaltending are in reference to the “big picture,” moving forward to the end of the season.

Brendan

March 9th, 2010
10:42 pm

Here’s your updated Conference Standings. Look out, the Florida Panthers won tonight, 3-2, in the shootout, over Minnesota. So, the Cats are catching us. That’s the EFFECT of zero points out of six, while the Panthers went on a 3-game winning streak.

Brendan

March 9th, 2010
10:43 pm

World Be Free

March 9th, 2010
10:47 pm

I thought the Panthers sent their fans a letter telling them they were mailing in the season?
They must have got the wrong mailing list.

Rawhide

March 9th, 2010
10:49 pm

Brendan – Sorry…no Ranallo Warning given on the new blog I just posted.

Ladies and gentlemen…the playoffs have just left the building.

Michael B. Shapiro

March 9th, 2010
10:52 pm

Must be time for the “Push to the Playoffs” to change to the “Push Ourselves Off a Friggin’ Cliff”

Yeesh, 3 games, ZERO points. What gives with these guys?

done

March 9th, 2010
11:08 pm

If you remember, Kari had to step in when the goalie and back up went down. That year had AHL and ECHL goaltenders the entire season. They did a better job than Opie has this year.

Also, there was Opie’s threat to go back to his homeland because he did not want to go back to the AHL. (Not sure who he expected the team to get rid of) DW promised him something then to make him stay. This kid has too much power already.

As far as Opie having a good first part of the season, the trend this season has been to give up goals in the first period and the team scoring the win in the third period. It seems to me the team has been bailing him out over and over.

If they want to develop the kid, fine with me. But get a real number 1 goalie. Thrashers don’t have one now.