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

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

Isa anything going on today, any pulse from Dudley. Or is he at the pool with his long island ice tea.

hip czech

July 2nd, 2010
4:12 pm

The Islanders still won’t have a prayer

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
4:18 pm

true that, wish they were in our division

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
4:23 pm

“Watch Jason Williams end up in Chicago, now that would be funny!’

I find your sense of humor not so funny in this case, unless you mean on the Wolves!

I really think Dudley may be done and that the Kubina money went/is going to Ladd. But I’d love to be wrong on that.

Red Light

July 2nd, 2010
4:24 pm

Joe: Check your F-book

glovesave29

July 2nd, 2010
4:28 pm

Something’s gotta be up…I can’t imagine every GM is doing the same thing I am doing at work today…perusing the blogs and keeping up with the World Cup on ESPN GameCast.

Eklund says the Flyers are up to something big. So you know that is wrong.

We do need some veteran leadership. Thrash are a bit to you. Need a calming influence to keep the team steady over the inevitable highs and lows of an NHL season.

Bill – any word on who Ramsay will be getting to complete his staff? (goalie coach, goalie coach, goalie coach, goalie coach – oh please oh please oh PLEASE A goalie coach)

Sparky (Smoothie)

July 2nd, 2010
4:30 pm

Yes, Wolves. That would be some tasty irony. Not to mention Willy getting relegated to AHL.

kracker

July 2nd, 2010
4:30 pm

I’d like Levenson, scotch in hand, to call up Duds and say “Oh, what the he** let’s spend another 5 or 6 mil.” Even if he is a day and a half late in calling.

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
4:31 pm

Torch would be good too, although its taking along time so I am afraid Torch is staying in Chicago

glovesave29

July 2nd, 2010
4:32 pm

Hey kracker – to get that to happen, it’d have to be a BOTTLE in his hand, not just a glass!

Red Light

July 2nd, 2010
4:37 pm

There is little question that the Flyers must make a move with the restricted free agent contracts of Carcillo and Powe coming due by the 15th.

Edmonton might still be looking to shed salaries because of the restricted free agent contracts of Gagner O’Marra and Cogliano.

Rangers signed Prust but still have the restricted free agent contracts of Girardi and Staal to iron out.

This thing ain’t over by a long shot. But, I think past 4th of July weekends were a bit slow too.

glovesave29

July 2nd, 2010
4:39 pm

Simon Gagne would look gook in light blue.

I am imagining a hockey game where the players fake injury to try to get penalties like in the world cup.

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
4:41 pm

I am sure the rangers would participate in that game

Dwayne

July 2nd, 2010
4:42 pm

Didn’t sign Kubina??? OK, give a little bit more $$ to Torch, who I thought would be the Head Coach. Where is Max?? Waiting too see where Kovy signs??

glovesave29

July 2nd, 2010
4:55 pm

Heres some humor – looks like the Hamilton Ti-Cats are leaving Hamilton for the burbs (which are actually much, much closer to Toronto than Hamilton). People are screaming about “stealing” their team. Buuuuuuut – it IS ok for them to take the NHL team from Phoenix. Nice. Hypocrites.

Somaatl95

July 2nd, 2010
5:02 pm

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=326388
TSN saying that Canada deserves more teams…

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
5:03 pm

Ghana blows last second penalty shot after hand ball. Reminds me of the bud light comercial!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Red Light

July 2nd, 2010
5:06 pm

Lombardi to Nashville for $3.5 million per season for three years. Poile strikes again for someone to play with Horn

Red Light

July 2nd, 2010
5:06 pm

Badger Bob

July 2nd, 2010
5:50 pm

Would have liked Lombardi here, especially at that price.

Not to stir up the Sparky/JF battle again, but I fully agree with Smoothie’s thinking on Kubina, especially after aquiring Sopel. If we kept Kubes and didn’t trade anyone at D, then you’ve got two good Dmen logging 3rd pair minutes. No matter what our budget is, you’ve got to be wise in distributing the cash and no team succeeds with the kind of substantial imbalance we’d have had with Kubes and the other 5 on D. I worried back at the trade deadline that Kulda and Boris would end up being our third pair – now, even without Kubes, that won’t happen, so I’m not overly worried.

RL – great insights and perspective throughout the days, as usual, but I’ve got to question whether the RFA contracts at 2 – 2.5x previous contract “rule” will hold for our group. For Little and Bergie, it may be north of 3x. But I doubt we offered MacA much if any raise from the $1.4M he barely earned last year. And no way we pay Opie more than Mason, so a 50% raise should be all he can expect. I’m still hoping the 6 RFAs come in at about 12M total (up from $7.1 for their 6 contracts last year). If so, I think there’s a bit to spend. If they get raises to $14 or 15M, then we are done as far as budget (i.e., no signings, just trades that balance in terms of salary).

HookyBob

July 2nd, 2010
6:16 pm

New reality,… to look down the road….

UFAs still available include Kovulchuk, Nabakov, & Turco. “Winds of philosophical change appear to be sweeping through the NHL’s fraternity of general managers.” So says Dan Rosen of NHL.com.

Brave new world,…we are looking at? Extraordinary situation,…the road less travelled. Any allstar willing to sign under $5 M / yr seems to have a job. Those wanting more,….are still unemployed (Gonchar excepted). The salary cap and a microcasm of the US economy??? (I never thought of the NHL an “economic leading indicator”) Could this be good news for the KHL. There’s no timing like “good timing.” (Just ask Obama.)

Ilya, Evgani and Marty may find it hard to save face (or have bad timing). My bet is that Ilya and Nabakov are KHL allstars in 2010-11 season. Maybe Max too? :)

So, is another “wind of change” going to the difficulty in trading someone with a spendy long term contract? Tim Thomas, Campbell & Vinny come to mind (but the list is long). Is the under $5 M /yr contract going to be the norm for the next few/several years? Once again,…there’s no timing like good timing,…just ask Ovie, Sid & Malkin (players you’d never trade). In this respect I have to say the Thrashers are in good shape (swallow hard),…except they can’t even get a “hometown discount” from their own players. Who is our highest paid player today? (Hint,… first name is Ron and his contract is one of those old reality ones.)

So this is the brave new workd? Will be most interesting to see it play out.

Curly

July 2nd, 2010
8:15 pm

RAISES? Are you kidding? RAISES?
No Playoffs = No RAISES!

World Be Free

July 2nd, 2010
8:57 pm

Hooky-some of these guys are victums of the Cap era, teams like the Rangers love to sign old guys, pay them top dollars to play on the 3rd line or backup the #1 goaltender. But the money isn’t there, just like Malholtra playing the waiting game last year then signing for $700K. See Adam Laroche in MLB.

Any other names of interest out there or have we tapped the corporate bank? (no laughing please)
Ponikarovsky?

Russ

July 2nd, 2010
8:59 pm

Badger Bob – While I respect the opinions of you and Smoothie, I have to agree with JF on this one. I think having Kubina out of the picture moves Oduya/Bogosian/Enstrom/Hainsey one spot up the depth chart, meaning the combination of them will have to play heavy minutes against other teams’ top two lines. They are all very capable second pairing d-men IMO, but Kubina was the steadying influence that was used to playing 22+ minutes against other teams top lines. Now I think you have four guys that aren’t quite capable and/or ready to fill that role. Hopefully Bogosian will be that guy eventually, but to expect it this season after how he played last year (possibly because of injury) is a rather large stretch. I hope I am wrong.

Joe Friday

July 2nd, 2010
9:47 pm

“having Kubina out of the picture moves Oduya/Bogosian/Enstrom/Hainsey one spot up the depth chart”

Bingo, that’s the point.

“Hopefully Bogosian will be that guy eventually, but to expect it this season after how he played last year (possibly because of injury) is a rather large stretch.”

Yep, but hope springs eternal so that’s our best shot for this year (hey, reports say he’s put 15lbs on and he was hurt last year/soph slump, he could step up to a 2/3 guy)

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2010
10:03 pm

Wow, really, I know we’ve had a good offseason, but 3.8 for two years??? I’m certain we could afford that. jesus. that pisses me off. Thank you ASG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hokey P. Clisters

July 2nd, 2010
10:05 pm

I got out of the cement pond for a while but after hearing vuvuzelas and reading about red panties………I gotta get back in the water.

In other news…..Elrod is a brick mason so he is enamored with our new goalie. He thinks the guy is alot like him. I then proceeded to explain Mr. Rawhide’s hyperbole to Elrod……but I think it was over his head.

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2010
10:05 pm

And thanks for the congrats people!! pretty freaking cool!! Toby you’re close, enjoy!!!

World Be Free

July 2nd, 2010
10:08 pm

Spud-could be worse-you could be a Sabre fan

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2010
10:13 pm

WBF, DOH!! ahahhaha
Hey, I know a few of us had discussed Jokinen a few blogs ago. How about the dumb &ss flames, 3 million for 2 years!!! I love it, boogard a 4 year deal!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spud Webb

July 2nd, 2010
11:08 pm

R. Stroz

July 2nd, 2010
11:22 pm

Joe Bob Friday and Smooth Sparky – Youse guys made my day.

Brendan

July 3rd, 2010
12:42 am

Glovesave, I like the SPHL’s thinking about not handing out points for losses, but I do think they should award the shootout winning team a point. So, in essense, games are either worth one-point or two. My other thought is what I’ve been saying pretty consistently for years now … “if we’re gonna have the shootout, and assign it a full win in the standings, then we have to assign a full loss to it, as well.”

I know hockey fans don’t want to hear of “games up and games back.” It seems unnatural. We’re used to cliches like, “two big points, tonight.” But I really think, especially down the stretch, fans want to know what their teams have to do … to secure a playoff spot. And they don’t want to hear, “Well, they have win their remaining games and not lose any games in REGULATION time, while their nearest rival must lose in REGULATION time at least once, etc.” Nobody wants to hear that, who isn’t a die-hard hockey fan. They want to hear, “we have to win our remaining two games while the other team must lose to either Florida or Tampa Bay over the weekend.” That’s clear cut, and easy to follow.

Now, I hear ya, those of you who still want 3-points awarded for a regulation time win. There probably is some merit to that, but now we all have to be math majors. Nine games might equal 27-points, so long as all of them are won in regulation time, etc. If 3-points ever got adopted, then I support 2-points for an OT win, and one-point for an OT win, with still nothing (zero) given to the loser. In that case, here’s how you look at things, in a more simplified manner. Games are either won for 3-points, 2-points, or 1-point. In those last two minutes of regulation, dogging it won’t guarantee you anything, other than getting fewer points if you win.

Brendan

July 3rd, 2010
12:44 am

I’m tired from a long day of traveling. Make that one-point awarded for the shootout win, with zero to the loser.

Brendan

July 3rd, 2010
1:05 am

I know it’s late, and Rawhide is likely to start a new blog in the morning, but guess what? That’s right, all of our extremely knowledgeable blog posters are now OFFICIALLY WRONG on our “Guess the Kovalchuk re-signing contest.” The final two eliminees were FrostyTheSnowMan with his guess of July 1, 2010, with the Washington Capitals, and Bob (Joe Friday), with his guess of the NY Rangers, on July 2, 2010.

And now thissssss :roll:

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=326429

That’s right, per Darren Dreger, an NHL-Insider at TSN.CA, the NY Islanders are in the Kovalchuk sweepstakes. It’s his claim that the NY Islanders are looking to jumpstart their new arena deal, and landing Kovalchuk could just be the cheese they need. He cites, “The Islanders are BELOW THE FLOOR of the cap, and are no strangers to 10 and 15 year deals.” The article says that “late Friday night texting” confirms the Islanders interest in Kovalchuk. And the reported offer is in the 10-years/$100 million range.

Ummn. Smacking my lips. Are the Islander any closer than the Thrashers to winning a Cup? (No, no they’re not.) Methinks this is a Brian Campbell-like ruse to get the L.A. Kings to open their checkbook. In Kovalchuk’s shoes, I’d sign the Islander contract with dissoluble ink. They turn to the camera, as Ashton Kutcher jumps out, “Charles Wang, you just got PUNK’D!!!”

Brendan

July 3rd, 2010
1:34 am

According the Philadelphia Enquirer, 30-year old Simon Gagner, currently of the Flyers, is willing to waive his no trade clause. Wonder where he wants to go? Los Angeles? If the Kings don’t land Kovalchuk, Gagner’s not a bad option at $5.25 million for one-year.

Here’s your link: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=326408

World Be Free

July 3rd, 2010
7:47 am

World Be Free

July 3rd, 2010
7:49 am

Spud-you beat me to it! Sorry I double posted on this one!

Joe Friday

July 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

“the reported offer is in the 10-years/$100 million range.”

Let’s see, that’s 100% of the Thrashers $10m per year offer, but ours was 3, 5 or 7, so it’s 143% of our $70m offer at $10m per year. We made a long term offer of 12 years, but at $8.66m per year so $10m per year long term is 115% of our long term offer. Who’d a thunk it?

I think this is Ilya’s agent leaking the Isle offer to get the Kings and Devils to up theirs, reports last night are that Sweet Lou and Brodeur are still in there pitching to Ilya’s camp.

Red Light

July 3rd, 2010
9:27 am

Badger Bob: They will try to lock them all up with multi-year deals and Ladd is assured of $3 million or more because he still has arbitration rights. All others at an average of $2 million and you’re up to at least $13 million.

R. Stroz

July 3rd, 2010
9:55 am

Joe Bob Friday – I agree. Greaseball Grossman is trying to use the Islanders to drive up Kovy’s price so Grossman can get a ten year payday.

Since Grossman gets around 10% of Kovy’s money, all he wants is a ten year stream of agent fees at around 1 million per year.

Someone better warn Kovy about the cost of living and taxes in California. Net income is alot different than total income.

glovesave29

July 3rd, 2010
9:56 am

Not buying this Kovy to the Isles story – it’s purely a ploy by his agent. Why on earth would he sign with the Isles if he rejected the Thrash for the reason of wanting to win the cup. The Isles are light years behind us…sure they have a few nice pieces in Tavares and Okposo, but they have been hamstrung in the past by really bad, long term contracts like DiPietro and Yashin. I think they have learned their lesson.

Brendan

July 3rd, 2010
10:29 am

Oh, the Islanders are stupid-enough to do this contract. They are. “You can’t fix stupid.” Stupid will continue to put its wares on full display. But there’s no chance Kovalchuk will sign that deal. As I said in my initial post, this is just a ruse to get the true targets to open their checkbooks.

I’d love for the Rosen article to be correct, whereby the GM’s band together to say, “We’re not falling for this, anymore. We’re not doing $10 million deals. And really, UFA’s will all come in around the $5 million mark.”

Hmmn, that’d be interesting to see! Wonder how long it would take to crumble? 10 minutes? 20 minutes?? Imagine if Jay Grossman picked up the phone and said to Dudley, “Okay, my client is willing to do $19.3 million over 2 years, for a cap hit of $9.65 million, which is above Ovechkin’s. Deal?” Dudley takes the offer to Waddell, “Don, you won’t believe it. Kovy’s willing to come back on a 2-year deal. He loves the team we’ve assembled. His wife and family wants to stay. Can we do it? Will it all fit under the cap?” Don crunches the numbers, “Wow, we’re flush against that cap, with not much for wiggle room, but our owners would sure like the positive P.R. for once. And with Kovy locked up for two, he won’t be another trade deadline distraction. On the other hand, maybe we could “rent” him again, for 4 more players. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

Relax. None of that is gonna happen. Kovy’s not gonna come back, and if he did, there went the “depth strategy” that we’re seemingly embarking on, and Bogosian and Kane’s contracts have to be arranged, as well. We’d wind up being the Chicago Blackhawks, forced to move players to get under the cap by Opening Night.

Get The Puck Out

July 3rd, 2010
10:37 am

I know, iknow- Eukland says FA’s that Atlanta is looking at is in this order Ruslan Fedotenko, Aaron Asham, Ryan Johnson, and Alexi Ponikarosky in that order. I know it’s Eukland, but it’s really slow right now. Just sayin…

World Be Free

July 3rd, 2010
10:39 am

Alexi Yashin, Rick DiPietro and now possibly Kovalchuk. These potential mistakes make out Zhitnik fiasco small in comparison.

I wonder what FormerIsleFan has to say about this one?

Jack

July 3rd, 2010
12:11 pm

Thats hilarious he coud, go to a worse franchise than ours after being offered siilar money. Go figure. No cup for Kovy

Brendan

July 3rd, 2010
1:12 pm

Jack, “No soup!” for him, either. He won’t sign on Long Island. Might as well have stayed here, for the same results.

Alan R.

July 3rd, 2010
1:13 pm

WBF, I daresay the Yashin deal makes our Zhitnik “year of failure” look bad. DiPetero is icing on the cake.

MI-THRASHFAN

July 3rd, 2010
1:45 pm

I love this signing, we got a quality starting goaltender without having to pay the major bucks.

Red Light

July 3rd, 2010
2:49 pm

OK, here’s some light reading for you. Bobby Ryan wants more than $5 million per year for five years. Simon Gagne asked to waive his no trade clause in Philly. Vancouver needs to rid themselves of a d-man like Bieksa, and Mason Raymond could be involved too. Garth Snow and “Hey, Wang. What’s with the pictures? It’s a parking lot! Come on!” are said to be truly interested in Kovalchuk. Or, none of all of these rumors will transpire.

If Ruslan Fedetenko becomes a Thrasher, I’ll personally run him out of town with bad sushi recommendations!