Time for Jets to address goaltending woes

by
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports / USA TODAY Sports

Enough is enough.

The Winnipeg Jets were pummeled 7-4 by the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night in an effort that was more dismal for the Jets than it was masterful on the part of the Canadiens.

Related: Jets' Maurice after allowing 7 goals: 'We were horses--t'

What stuck out, once again, for the Jets was their porous goaltending. Connor Hellebuyck was given the hook after allowing three goals on seven shots in the first period, but Michael Hutchinson didn't fare any better in relief, conceding four goals on 23 shots the rest of the way.

It's the same old song and dance for a Jets team struggling to find consistency between the pipes. Sure, they've largely given the reins to Hellebuyck this season, but the club is no better for that decision as both have produced unremarkable numbers.

Goalie Games Played GAA (League Rank) SV% (League Rank)
Hellebuyck 33 2.73 (31st) .910 (T-31)
Hutchinson 17 3.30 (49th) .890 (48th)

League rank based on goalies with at least 10 games played.

The most obvious solution would be to try making a deal with a club currently boasting two strong goaltenders - and many candidates fit that bill.

The Detroit Red Wings have Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, the Pittsburgh Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray, the Tampa Bay Lightning boast Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy, and then there is Scott Darling, who could possibly be plucked from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Of course, the impending expansion draft is likely to see at least one of the names above selected by the Golden Knights or moved due to the fear of that very scenario playing out.

According to Cap Friendly, the Jets currently have the fourth-most cap space in the league: approximately $12 million dollars to play with, meaning they can certainly afford any of the men above.

However, with trades becoming as rare as Bigfoot, the Jets might be forced to do the one thing they hoped they'd never have to - recall Ondrej Pavelec.

Yes, the 29-year-old's play has been suspect in the past - but so too is the play of the club's current duo, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Pavelec was banished to the American Hockey League this season and has played 17 games there for the Manitoba Moose, going 7-7-2 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

The numbers are hardly any better than those of Hellebuyck or Hutchinson, but the team needs a change and Pavelec - despite his flaws - has proven in the past that he can provide solid goaltending.

In order to make that move, one of Hellebuyck or Hutchinson would have to be sent down. Hellebuyck is waiver-exempt, so there are no worries there, while Hutchinson would have to clear waivers - but given his numbers, it's safe to say that's unlikely.

There are no easy, quick-fix solutions, but the Jets have now given up a league-high 132 goals, with the fourth-worst goals against per game at 3.00. The time to act is now.