Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
If the Winnipeg Jets are going to have a strong season in their return to Canada they are going to have to start with good goaltending. Chris Mason believes they have the netminders in place to get it.
Goaltending is one of the top question marks around the Jets as the season approaches. Last season Ondrej Pavelec and Mason showed flashes but overall their performances are the reason questions abound.
Pavelec appears to be in place as the starter and Mason the backup. Last season that duo did not exactly set the league on fire.
The Atlanta Thrashers gave up the second most goals in the league with Pavelec ranking 34th in goals against average (2.72). Mason;s GAA was a sieve-like 3.39.
Despite the performance last season, Pavelec is still considered a potential star and Mason has played 11 seasons, including four as a starter, making him seem like a solid option as a backup.
Mason for one, is not worried about the state of the Jets' goaltending heading into the season.
"I really think we can be a top-notch talent," he stold the Toronto Sun. "Pav's an unbelievable talent, a good young goaltender and a great guy. I really enjoyed playing with him last year and this summer I worked a lot on my strength conditioning and I plan to try to push him."
Despite being penciled in as the backup for now, Mason knows things can change during the course of the NHL season and said he will be ready.
"Last year (Pavelec) had a two-month stretch where, in my opinion, he was a top goaltender in the league," Mason said. "The last half of the season was different for our whole team. We fell off, but he definitely has the potential to be a great goaltender in this league.
"I've been around long enough to know that every year you never know what's going to happen. I've played as little as 10-11 games to 60-some games. I just have to work on performing when it's my turn."
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