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One more free agent returns: Jets' pipes are full

Montoya likes team, city, agrees to stay another year

Posted: 07/5/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Goalie Al Montoya will be back in a Jets uni next season after inking another one-year deal to back up Ondrej Pavelec.

BRIAN BLANCO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Goalie Al Montoya will be back in a Jets uni next season after inking another one-year deal to back up Ondrej Pavelec.

He likes the city, likes his coaches, likes his teammates.

The only thing Al Montoya would probably like more from the Winnipeg Jets going forward is this:

A jump in minutes between the pipes.

The Jets announced Thursday they had re-signed the 28-year-old goaltender -- who was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent -- to a new contract with the exact same terms as a year ago: one year at $601,000.

His return immediately fills the No. 2 netminder spot behind Ondrej Pavelec on the Jets' roster.

"I really enjoyed my time last year," said Montoya in a conference call Thursday from Miami, where he is attending his brother's wedding. "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 twice battling groin injuries. He finished with a 3-1-0 record, a 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.

"Oh, who knows. I know it's going to be a crazy year," Montoya said when asked how many games he expects to play in 2013-14. "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."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2013 C4

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