Jets agree to terms with Al Montoya
The Winnipeg Jets are pleased to announce they have agreed to terms with goaltender Al Montoya on a new contract. As per club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Montoya, 27, played in 31 games with the New York Islanders during the 2011-12 season. In that time, the Chicago, IL native earned a 9-11-5 record, 3.11 goals against average and 0.893 save percentage. He has played in 57 career NHL games, between the Islanders and Coyotes, for a 21-17-10 career record, 2.76 goals against average and 0.906 save percentage. Montoya was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round, sixth overall, in the 2004 NHL Draft.
"I’m excited to be a part of such a hockey community,” Montoya said during a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “I’m just really excited about the opportunity, the way this team is being built and the chance to play in one of the coolest buildings.
"I’m a guy that looks forward to winning and wants to win and help contribute to the team as much as possible and I look forward to doing the same in Winnipeg."
Jets' GM Kevin Cheveldayoff spoke to media soon after the announcement of the acquisition of Montoya and expressed what he, goaltending coach Wade Flaherty, and the rest of his management group liked about the 27-year old goaltender.
"We sat down and looked at the different opportunities that were out there for goaltenders,” said Cheveldayoff. “As we went through the do diligence process, Wade Flaherty was very involved. He personally interviewed many different candidates to talk about our situation playing under Ondrej Pavelec as well as their own individual situations.
"Ultimately we made the choice to go in the direction with Al because we felt that as a 27-year old goaltender there is a good opportunity to work with Wade and continue to grow his game and become a good asset for us moving forward."
Montoya told media that he too, had other options presented once the calendar page flipped to July 1st, but said the decision was a 'no-brainer' when Winnipeg presented their offer. Playing in Canada was more than appealing for the Chicago product.
"Anytime you step foot in Canada for hockey it’s a different world I’ve always thought," he said. "I’ve played in Winnipeg, even in the minors, and you just notice the hockey community. It’s such a great buzz and such a great feel to play in that building.
“You look at Winnipeg, it’s a young team committed to winning and what they did last year, they took such great strides. Then you add a new guy like Olli Jokinen, and it shows the direction the team wants to head in, it’s all positive. You have Ondrej Pavelec who is a phenomenal young goalie and just anywhere that I can contribute and help the team I’m looking forward to doing."
Montoya will join the Winnipeg Jets as Pavelec's sidekick earning his starts just as any goaltender should. He expressed nothing but satisfaction to be able to play any amount of games and will be ready when he's called upon.
"To me it doesn’t matter," said Montoya on the number of starts he'll get. "Whenever Ondrej can’t play for whatever the reason is, if it's 20-30 games, less or more, for me it’s about being ready to win. Being in Long Island, you never knew when it was going to be your night or when you had to jump in so it’s about being ready all the time and contribute.
"I’m here as a backup to work as hard as I can when I am called upon to go in the net and contribute and help this team move forward- into the playoffs."
Cheveldayoff doesn't have a number of games in mind- no one does. He just wanted a backup who would work hard night in and night out and continue to grow and succeed within the organization.
"The opportunity to have another younger type of goaltender who will earn starts and continue to earn starts, is an exciting thing," said Chevy. "Hopefully the two of them can mesh together and create a good tandem that we can continue to give a strong load to Pav' but also a good load to Al."