WINNIPEG —; The Winnipeg Jets activated goalie Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve on Friday while sending Connor Hellebuyck back to the Manitoba Moose.
Pavelec, 28, has been cleared to play after skating with the team for a couple weeks. On Friday he faced shots for the entire practice for the first time since returning and afterwards head coach Paul Maurice declared him fit to play.
“I felt great,” Pavelec said. “I feel really good and ready to go.”
Pavelec hasn’t played a game since injuring his knee back on November 21, sitting out the last 33 games. Before getting hurt he was 5-6-1 with a 2.82 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.
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“Somewhere in the next two or three games both Pavelec and (Michael) Hutchinson, based on his play in Colorado will get games,” Maurice said. “And then we’ll make decisions where we are going forward after that.”
The Jets start a four game road trip on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers where Pavelec could make his return after close to three months off.
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“We’ll make that announcement tomorrow,” Maurice said.
The ripple effect sees Hellebuyck re-assigned to the Moose despite starting 14 of their last 16 games. Hellebuyck is on an entry level contract and doesn’t need to clear waivers to report to the Moose where Hutchinson would have to clear waivers to play in the AHL and would be available to each of the other 29 teams.
Hellebuyck, 22, was 13-11-1 with a 2.34 goals against average and a .918 save percentage with 2 shutouts in 26 games. He’ll be a welcome addition for the last place Moose who have been riding Eric Comrie in his absence.