Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/12/14 at 10:35 AM ET
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
... They most likely will not make the playoffs for the third straight year since their relocation from Atlanta. There is no doubting the Jets’ skill, from their first line of Andrew Ladd, Bryan Little, and Blake Wheeler, to their stacked defense that includes Dustin Byfuglien, Zach Bogosian, and Jacob Trouba. But none of Winnipeg’s best players offers anything in terms of resistance when opponents flex their muscles.
It is GM’s Kevin Cheveldayoff’s mandate to improve Winnipeg’s goaltending. Ondrej Pavelec is under contract for three more seasons, but the 26-year-old Pavelec is showing no signs of changing who he is: an up-and-down goalie who undermines the three saves he shouldn’t make with the one stop he should. Winnipeg’s identity is high-tempo, offense-first skill. Mistakes will happen in those types of systems. Pavelec isn’t good enough to negate them. There are goaltending options. The Ducks have four between Anaheim and Norfolk: Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth, Frederik Anderssen, and John Gibson. Jonathan Quick isn’t going anywhere, but the Kings also have Ben Scrivens, Martin Jones, and Jean-Francois Berube. Those are two trade partners that Winnipeg must target to improve its goaltending. If it requires parting with a core player, whether it’s Wheeler, or Byfuglien or Evander Kane, so be it. Because so far, it’s not working in Winnipeg.
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