Apparently it was Peter Budaj.
After another season of Ondrej Pavelec the Winnipeg Jets have traded for his eventual replacement. Sort of but not really. In reality GM Kevin Cheveldayoff went out and paid for a new backup to Pavelec. And overpaid.
Ondrej Pavelec has been in a free fall since Winnipeg got a team again. It’s not a matter of “fault”, he’s a human being things happen. He’s the next in a long line of could’ve-been goalies Atlanta/Winnipeg have dressed, but his lack of development and non-existent fallback plan in case of failure are decidedly not his fault. That falls on management. Don Waddell was guilty first, now Kevin Cheveldayoff has the honor of not correctly addressing his goaltending.
Over the last four years Pavelec has been the statistically worst starting goalie in the NHL. The same NHL that saw Joey MacDonald and Yann Danis see time as starters. In that same time frame, Peter Budaj has been an NHL backup. Not a particularly good backup but one where the head coach has only thought twice, not three times, before pulling his starter for the goalie lovingly nicknamed “Ned.” Fortunately for Winnipeg, Budaj posted NHL-average numbers last season, which were better than Pavelec (2.51 and .903 for Budaj, 3.01 and .901 for Pavelec).
While this minute difference is actually a world apart for these two, Cheveldayoff paid for Budaj in the form of Eric Tangredi. Who was placed on waivers prior to the trade.
Winnipeg could have snagged Dan Ellis off waivers for only half his salary. Ellis has proven himself in multiple backup and emergency starter scenarios. His 2013-14 stats (4.81, 836) are horrific but he was a Florida Panther. It’s understandable.
Maybe there’s something to be said about this trade. Montreal has Dustin Tokarski waiting to backup Carey Price, and he admirably carried the water for Montreal in the playoffs after the Price injury, so Budaj is expendable. And maybe the Habs can find use in Tangredi. Who knows.
Maybe Montreal is making room for Mart….no. Not even going there.
Montreal and Winnipeg traded spare parts to give players a change of scenery. That’s what makes sense.
UPDATE: One day after the trade Budaj is placed on waivers. Though Winnipeg hopes to assign him to St John’s, Cheveldayoff believes there’s a chance Budaj will be claimed. Possibly, as trading for him would have been irrational. It is unclear what Cheveldayoff is going to do next.