Changing of the guard: Is it time to switch to Hutch?

It appears that
there may be a change between the pipes for the Jets at some point this season,
perhaps even sooner than some would have thought.

Like most Jets
fans may have already noticed, I have see an increase in games for Jets rookie
netminder Michael Hutchinson, who won his fifth game of the season last night
against the Colorado Avalanche. The 24-year-old has looked solid in most of his
starts this year, and appears to be earning starts against some top-level
opponents this past month.

Hutchinson
started just one game in October, which was a disaster for the young goaltender
where he gave up three goals on 13 shots to the Los Angeles Kings in just a
period and a handful of minutes.

The next time he
saw action came almost two weeks later where he would come in relief of Ondrej
Pavelec in the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In that period,
Hutch would turn away all nine shots he faced and looked like he had gotten a
bit of his confidence back.

Then came the
month of November, where the Barrie-native started five of the Jets 15 games
and would play two periods of relief of Pavelec in another game. During his six
games in November, Hutchinson would post a record of 4-0-2 with a goals against
average of 1.22 and a 0.958 save percentage. Pretty strong numbers for a backup
rookie goaltender who played teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston
Bruins in that time.

Another note
worth mentioning is that since Hutchinson took over for Pavelec on Nov. 16
against the Minnesota Wild, he and Pavelec have split starts 50-50 in the
remaining six games of November and the first two games of December.

So far this month both Hutchinson and Pavelec have started a game for the Jets, both have won and both have given up only two goals in each of their games. If this isn’t a strong competition between goalies, I don’t know what is.

Now I’m not
trying to say that Pavelec’s play has been bad as of late, he had a pretty
strong end of October and start of November, I’m just noticing a trend that
Hutchinson is beginning to play more and more, and well for that matter.

Now I’m not
trying to take away from Pavelec, he’s a big reason as to why the Jets are
where they are this season. This season he has a record of 9-8-2 in 21 games.

But his numbers
in November took a trop compared to his October. Pavelec’s in November had 2.12
GAA, 0.928 SV% and a record of 4-4-1 in 10 games. Not as appealing numbers as
Hutchinson’s.

I don’t think
that the Jets are prepared to make a change in net quite yet, due to Hutchinson’s
experience in opposed to Ondrej’s, although Hutchinson is getting a lot more
meaningful games against some strong opponents.

I believe that Pavelec is skating on some pretty
thin ice right now, with his mediocre numbers compared to Hutchinson’s strong
numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if a change does happen at some point this
season. Hopefully this competition between these two netminders will help raise
both their games so the Jets can be confident with either goalie the