The Winnipeg Jets have filled a significant hole on their depth chart by re-signing goaltender Al Montoya.
The Jets announced today they have inked the Chicago product to a new deal, one day before the National Hockey League free-agent market is to open. Montoya, who earned $601,000 last season, has reportedly signed the same one-year deal for the 2013-14 season.
"I really enjoyed my time last year," said Montoya in a conference call today. "This is a good group, a good team. We came so close last year and, for me, I like the coaching staff and I love working with the goalie coach there, Flats (Wade Flaherty). So, it was pretty simple.
"The city is great, my family liked it and I think the team is moving in the right direction."
Montoya, 28, played in just seven games for the Jets last season while battling a groin injury that sidelined him twice. He finished with a 3-1-0 record, 2.91 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. He also posted the only shutout of the year for the Jets, in a 1-0 victory over Ottawa on Feb. 9th. A former first-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2004, Montoya has appeared in 63 career games with the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders and Jets for a 24-18-10 career record, 2.77 career goals against average and 0.906 career save percentage.
Montoya figures to get more playing time this winter, if he is healthy, especially knowing Ondrej Pavelec will likely be part of the Czech team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Asked how many games he might expect to play, Montoya said:
"Oh, who knows. I know it’s going to be a crazy year. Injuries were a part of (last year) and it was a screwy year with the lockout and having to take care of your own body with no one else really looking after you in the first half of the year. I feel great now and I’m just excited to get back.
"As for the playing part… with the Olympic break coming up I don’t expect the pace of this season to be much different from the last."