Thrashers hire Mason to build brick wall in front of goal

Thursday afternoon Thrasherville saw a changing of the guard in goal. First, free agent netminder Chris Mason signed a two-year deal with Atlanta that will pay him $1.6 million this coming season and then $2.1 in 2011-12. The cap hit will be figured at $1.85 million. Mason’s coming off a contract that had paid $3-mil per year.

Chris Mason has a career 2.54 GAA and .914 SV% with 20 shoutouts. He signed a two year contract Thursday to play for the Thrashers (AP photo)

Chris Mason has a career 2.54 GAA and .914 SV% with 20 shoutouts. He signed a two year contract Thursday to play for the Thrashers (AP photo)

Shortly thereafter, Atlanta fan favorite Johan Hedberg then agreed to terms with New Jesery…the team that drafted Mason in 1995 with the 122nd overall pick. It’s a contract that will pay him $1.5 mil this season.

And with that… in just a matter of minutes, the Thrashers hired a Mason to help build a solid brink wall in front of the Thrashers goal, then we watched as Moose rode off into the Thrasherville sunset.

Yes, I know… New Jersey is not to our west, it’s NNE of here

The 34-year old Mason has spent the last two seasons with the St. Louis Blues and prior to that he was with the Nashville Predators. Last year he was 30-22-8 with a .913 SV% and 2.53 GAA and 2 shutouts. His career mark is 115-86-26 with one tie and a 2.54 GAA and .914 SV% and 20 SO.

Even though the Blues were swept by Vancouver in the 2009 playoffs and Mason took all four loses, his stats were still very good…2.34 GAA and .916 SV% facing an average of 29.75 Canucks shots in the series.

But Rick Dudley’s work wasn’t through just yet. Before long we heard of a trade that brought another member of last year’s Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to the Thrashers. Forward Andrew Ladd was traded for in exchange for prospect defenseman Evgeni Vishnevskiy and our 2nd round pick next summer. The left winger joins fellow former-Blackhawks Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager who were traded for just last week.

Last year, the 6’-2”, 200-pound Ladd played in all 82 regular season games scoring 17 goals, 21 assists and was a +2 with 67 PIM. During the postseason, he netted 3 goals and 3 assits and was a +4. The 25-year old native of British Columbia scored the second period goal in the deciding game-six in Philadelphia that put the Hawks up 3-2 with 2:17 before the second intermission.

Ladd was the 4th overall pick in the 2004 by the Carolina Hurricanes and has played in 321 career games where he has scored 63 goals, 86 assists and is a +42. He was a +26 two seasons ago for Chicago and has never finished a season with a negative +/- rating.

He’s an RFA who has been extended a qualifying offer and made $1.6 million last year.

However, Rick Dudley still wasn’t quite done yet as later in the evening it was learned that the Thrashers had signed defenseman Mike Siklenka. This would be nothing more than a depth move…more than likely replacing Vishevskiy in Chicago, I’d guess.

Siklenka is from Saskatchewan and was selected by the Washington Capitals with the 118th overall pick in the 1998 draft. He’s played in four NHL games…two with the Flyers and two with the Rangers…and has no points and no PIM to show for it.

He has spent the last two seasons with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Erste Bank Hockey League. They play their home games in Salzburg, Austria.

As for the day’s activities, my initial reation is a positive one.

First of all…Ondrej Pavelec is not ready to be anointed the number-one goalie here. Hedberg had a great season last year, but he is a career backup and I simply was not comfortable with pinning next season’s hopes on him repeating that performance.

What do you think of the Mason signing and Ladd trade?

  • Thumbs up to both! (88%, 146 Votes)
  • Thumbs down to both! (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Thumbs up Mason-Not Ladd (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Thumbs up Ladd-Not Mason (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Mike Siklenka? The Cup is ours! (6%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 166

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Mason has started 50+ games over the past three seasons and he has never posted a goals against average lower than 2.90 in his career, (exept for the 5.21 GAA posted in 1998-99 when he played in but 3 games). So he’s shown he can hold up over the course of a season and post consistent numbers.

Would I have preferred Evgeni Nabokov? Sure…but Mason is a solid pickup and we are better at that position now than before the signing.

As for Ladd…well, this was the 15+ goal scorer that Rick Dudley hinted of this week. To procure his services, we gave up a second round pick and a propsect blueliner that quite frankly had no chance of playing at the NHL here this season. Not a bad excahnge at all.

Here’s another way to look at it…

Six months ago the Thrashers were looking to move the oft-injured Kari Lehtonen, the goalie taken with Atlanta’s 2nd overall pick in 2002. Last winter he was dealt to Dallas for Vishnevskiy and the Stars’ fourth round draft pick…used to procure Russian left wing Ivan Telegin. Dudley and Co. then used Vishnevskiy and a future draft pick to bring in Ladd.

So in essence, we parted ways with Lehtonen and a 2011 second round selection in exchange for Ladd and a 2010 fourth rounder. Then, Mason takes over the top spot in the Thrashers’ goal that was once held by Kari…after Moose filled in valiantly last season. In the end, we wind up with a number-one goalie, a 15+ goal scorer and a mid-round prospect…all for roughly the same price as Lehtonen alone.

Nice work, Mr. Dudley.

Now, Give Yourselves A Big Pat On The Back

Yesterday, Rawhide’s Rowdies showed up in full force to the 2010 UFA Talent Pool Party! At the time of this posting, 616 comments were posted on that blog…by far surpassing the old record of 506, set last July 1.

After a while, the techno-geeks downtown at the AJC office had to toss a few extra hamsters on the wheel to provide more power to this little blog-thingy.

Thanks to all of you who joined in the fun!

336 comments Add your comment

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:07 am

Kulda. No, not Valabik!! Kulda.

enough said.

Thrashy Thrashy

July 2nd, 2010
11:08 am

So LeBrun is saying that Kubina’s getting $4.2 million in the first year of the deal.

Hainsey’s getting $5 million (cap hit $4.5 million) in 2010-11. If you want to blame anybody, blame Waddell for tying that much money up in Hainsey. Otherwise, I think the Thrashers will be just fine. We’ve never had good team defense. If that changes, we won’t be whining as much about top-4 defensemen and all that crap.

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
11:08 am

no wonder he has not signed. Thats the same money we offered him

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
11:16 am

“Thats the same money we offered him”

No, we offered him $8.4m per year on the long term 12 yr deal or $10m per year on a shorter term 3, 5, or 7 year deal. They’ll settle in the middle something like 8 year $9m?

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
11:18 am

it may go lower than that with teams bailing on Kovy. that is of course if he doesn’t go to the khl

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2010
11:20 am

Someone needs to explain to Kovy that there is a difference between skating on ice and walking on water.

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
11:21 am

Kovy shoots but Jesus saves!

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:22 am

Kovy thinks he deserves more than Ovechkin, Crosby, and any other NHL player.

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:22 am

Haha. I like that!

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
11:25 am

yeah maybe he deserves 50% because he does not play defense, or check.

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
11:26 am

Let’s go, Netherlands! Just took the lead on Brazil, 20 minutes to go, tune in to see what’s sure to be a fantastic push by Brazil

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
11:30 am

Brazil done just got red card

Dwayne

July 2nd, 2010
11:35 am

Can’t wait for Oct 8th!!! Don’t forget the vuvuzuelas!!!!!

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
11:37 am

lol at Kevin Allen’s subtle dig at our internal cap here:

“The Atlanta Blackhawks are probably done, although they could probably use a $500,000 defenseman”

waffleboy

July 2nd, 2010
11:37 am

Disappointing to see Kubina go at that price, but I agree, it’s not the end of the world. However, we need another top 4 d-man. The idea of Valabik and Kulda as our last options is not promising. There are plenty of d-men available and we need to spend the money to go and get one.

J.C. Thompson

July 2nd, 2010
11:38 am

Kovy is really confused about how important he is. He doesn’t understand team play, he is worth about 7 million a year as a 40 goal scorer.

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:40 am

Sorry Joe, I’m going for Brazil….

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2010
11:41 am

Kevin Allen better be careful or Waddell will stop leaking info to him first.

hip czech

July 2nd, 2010
11:42 am

This from a San Jose blogger on NHL.com:

“The big winner so far in the offseason in my opinion is Atlanta. The Thrashers have taken advantage of the Chicago Blackhawks Cap Mismanagement and scooped up some key Stanley Cup crew. Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel,Ben Eager and Andrew Ladd are now in Georgia. GM Rick Dudley also nabbed Chris Mason between the pipes. The Thrashers are going to be a very improved, tough and playoff team this season.
Rumour is that the remaining Hawks are upset, feeling that the toughness and hard edge has been jettisoned from the team. Besides Chicago’s youthful skill that edge was a big reason they are the Champs.”

Wow…who’d a thunk we’d ever see THAT written?

Tom Lysiak

July 2nd, 2010
11:42 am

I would love to see Lombardi put the squeeze on Kovy if he is really the only NHL team in the game. Play for this or head to the KHL….

Dwayne

July 2nd, 2010
11:45 am

Thrashers place Boris Valabik on waivers, sign Orange Cone, a 2′6″, 38 lb defensmen from Atlanta’s Public Road works division.
“This is a definite upgrage on D” Atl. Prez Don Waddell.

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
11:46 am

HC that is awesome to see. It would be nice to add one more piece. Of course if Pav still thinks he is somebody that deserves money we might.

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2010
11:47 am

Dwayne – As long as the cone doesn’t have Sutton written on it.

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
11:50 am

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:52 am

Haha, Good game though…;)

Tom

July 2nd, 2010
11:55 am

Okay, this is going to be dumb. Really dumb. But, I have to throw it out there.

The Thrashers have a bunch of money available against the cap right now.

Ilya Kovalchuk has just realized that his market worth is no where near what his agent promised him.

What if the Thrashers came over the top and offered 8.5 mm a year for 5 years to Ilya.

It is not the deal that he wanted, but he has his house here. His wife is happy here. He could reclaim the high ground saying he really did like it here.

The team is built right now so that he would be much more effective as we have the size in the middle and the strength to back him up.

And we would get 40-50 goals a season while selling a hell of a lot more tickets. The Thrashers would make their money back in 2 weeks with ticket sales.

Again, it is dumb, but intriguing as hell.

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:56 am

Jack – Who you going for at 2:30? Uruguay or Ghana??

kracker

July 2nd, 2010
11:57 am

Congratulations to Mrs Spud :) and to you too buddy!

Lee

July 2nd, 2010
11:58 am

Tom – I think it’s a good plan, but I have to say, I kind of like it without Kovy. When Kovy was here, everybody depended on him to do the work and nobody else tried. Now, everybody really has to give a good effort to get the wins.

Russian

July 2nd, 2010
12:02 pm

I am with Lee also. Whole team was working on him. But I will be happy to see him here again.

World Be Free

July 2nd, 2010
12:03 pm

hip-thanks for the last post, rare indeed to hear anyone talking about “good moves” and the Thrashers.

.65/dollar for an elite team and .80/dollar for average teams (like Los Angeles) – can’t wait to hear what Kovy eventually signs for.

Stroz-you have been around for awhile, seen alot with this team, more than most people. Question-what would the fan reaction have been had the team dumped Colby, Kubina or any other player at last year’s trade deadline? The theory at the time was to bring in some short term pieces (Mac and Arty) to make a run at a playoff spot that we barley missed out on. Would we have truly been better to have cut bait?

Smoothie

July 2nd, 2010
12:04 pm

At first blush, I’m disappointed to learn that we weren’t “able” to sign Kubina. Making matters worse of course is the fact he signed with another team within the division — can’t really blame him for returning “home” where he’s spent the majority of his career. However, it isn’t a matter of not being “able”, it is more a matter of not being WILLING — willing to spend that kind of money on a player who could potentially block the growth and maturity of younger players like Bogosian, Kulda and even Valabik.

If you’re going to commit to your younger players, at some point you have to make opportunity cost decisions that will help you not only in the short run, but also longer-term. Bogosian is only 19. The ASG, well Dudley and Co., are banking on Bogo as their franchise D-man for years to come. In order to achieve his potential, he must be given at least Top 4 minutes. And if they are right, we will have to pay him mad bank next summer at the end of his ELC.

With Kubina in the fold, the demand for minutes is greater than what’s available. Oduya, Hainsey and Enstrom can all log a lot of minutes and they can fully expect to play 20-22 mins apiece. But it’s Bogo that will be expected to bear the brunt of the load due to his ability to score and potential as a pre-eminent PP QB. If Kubina is on the team, that cuts adversely into Bogo’s minutes as a PP presence. While Bogo may not always play against the other team’s top lines, we must accept that Duds sees him as the guy who will log the majority of PP mins as well as his fair share on the PK.

I will miss Kuby. I think he’s a class act and good for any locker room thanks to his quiet, steady leadership, sometimes vocal, but mostly by example. But with every loss comes opportunity and it’s time to invest in our young guys and the potential they possess. Kulda showed he’s ready and he will need 12-16 mins per game to develop effectively. And a healthy Valabik can log heavy minutes on the PK unit as well as help anchor the bottom pairing should Kulda struggle at times.

Kuby, we hate to see you go, but the future is now. And we still need a few mill for another veteran forward who can pot 20 goals. I don’t think we’re done — and our cap number is still right around $44 – 45 M depending on the RFA deals — as Dudley said on 680 the Fan “no, I don’t think we’re done” (his exact response to Kincade’s question) when asked about additional moves. While I think he would prefer a sensible trade — cuz that’s what he does! — I’m not so sure we won’t sign a veteran winger for $1.75 – 2.25 M if the fit is right.

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
12:04 pm

I guess Uruguay

Tom

July 2nd, 2010
12:08 pm

Lee and Russian – I do not disagree, I was just throwing it out there. I was always impressed with Kovy’s skill but never with his heart.

But I was thinking that we now have a playoff team. This team will be expected, barring injuries, to make the playoffs.

Would Ilya, if he learned the lessons in New Jersey that he should have, be a player that could make the difference for the team to go further?

It is pure speculation, I admit it, but we could have added Oduya, Bergfors, and Comier to the team and get Ilya back. I think everyone of us would have thought this an amazing turn of events last April.

GaVaHokie

July 2nd, 2010
12:16 pm

Well… looked up some Mike Siklenka highlights on Youtube… I don’t think he’s a replacement for Vishnevsky. :) This guy is a jack hammer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UORlJfwWOgc&feature=related

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
12:17 pm

“Brazil done just got red card”

What a selfish penalty. Melo is going to have to change his name, adopt a new country.

The Dutch!

Hip czech, some “blogger on NHL.com”? nice to read, but some blogger on AJC.com keeps writing about sheep, does it make it true?

“However, it isn’t a matter of not being “able”, it is more a matter of not being WILLING — willing to spend that kind of money on a player who could potentially block the growth and maturity of younger players like Bogosian, Kulda and even Valabik.”

Smoothie, nice spin, but you don’t really believe that do ya? If you think for one moment that Waduds wouldn’t have signed Kubina (or taken a run at Martin et al) if they had the money to spend, then you’re just fooling yourself. Sopel in and Kubina out is all about money and operating under the FuffleCheapCheapSpiritSquad cap. Same reason it’s a dream to look at the $10m in cap room we have left and think about bringing Kovy back. Our cap is $50m or so for opening night, and I’m sure the mandate is they can exceed that if they’re in the running for playoffs by bringing deadline guys in or to go below that and jettison salary at the deadline if they’re out of it.

Russ

July 2nd, 2010
12:21 pm

We were so close and then to see Kubina go for an affordable price is very disappointing. If Kubina would have re-signed I think this would have been a solid team from top-to-bottom, a sure playoff team possibly capable of winning a round. Now they are slightly better than last season, a borderline playoff team, pending any additional moves.

Does anyone know if Kim Johnsson has been given a clean bill of health from his latest concussion towards the end of last season? He’s a definite health risk because of his history, but because of that could also be an affordable d-man that is a capable minute muncher to replace Kubina. Could be an injury waiting to happen, but at a low cost might be worth the gamble.

glovesave29

July 2nd, 2010
12:22 pm

With the additions to Vancouver, Bieksa is probably available via trade. That’s a nice piece. Still want Stempniak and Max to sign.

kracker

July 2nd, 2010
12:25 pm

Congratulations Toby!!!

Thrashy Thrashy

July 2nd, 2010
12:27 pm

I think we’re looking solid for a playoff spot right now, but it would be nice to see the wallet opened up a little more to try to make it a sure thing.

Then again, nothing’s a sure thing, is it?

Hockey Biltong

July 2nd, 2010
12:28 pm

Baie goed Oranje!!!! Gaan aan jou goedste kerels!!!!
HOLLAND!!!!!!!

hip czech

July 2nd, 2010
12:31 pm

JF, here is the complete article – http://media.fans.sharks.nhl.com/_FREE-AGENT-BREAKDOWN/BLOG/2425395/122899.html

It is not just you and me making comments on a blog…it is the San Jose ‘beat’ blogger for NHL.com.

But, I understand your point, that is just one man’s opinion….still, it’s nice to see some ‘national’ press recognizing that there is some improvement being made here.

Russian

July 2nd, 2010
12:33 pm

Souray put on waiver. Anybody interesting?

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
12:35 pm

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2010
12:37 pm

WBF – I fully expected to see Army moved at the trade deadline. Frankly, I was tired of screaming at hime to “move his feet” and “screen the goalie.”

Army had been putting forth a half measured effort most of the season. So from my perspective, the Thrashers would have been better off “cutting bait” and obtaining the lowest draft pick possible.

Kubina, well, that’s a different story. Good leadership, Smart player. I think he was willing to stay in Atlanta and could mentor our young d-men.

kracker

July 2nd, 2010
12:39 pm

Congratulations to GaVaHokie too!!

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2010
12:41 pm

Put Charmin on waivers…please…please…please

Yung JB from Montreal in Lebanon now

July 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

URUGUAY FOR THE CUP! Plus i love opening my computer in lebanon on july 1st and see this new team.. cant talk alot g2g catch the game GO THRASHERS GO URUGUAY!

kracker

July 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

Kubina gave TBL the home town discount for 2 years to go back and be with his family. I’m sure he wanted more money and 3 or 4 years to stay in Atlanta.

glovesave29

July 2nd, 2010
12:43 pm

Guiness #2 now emptied. Still po’ed about Brasil loss. Uh, waitress….