There’s some slightly surprising news out of Columbus today: the Blue Jackets extended goalie Steve Mason’s contract for two years. The deal will be worth $2.6 million in 2011-12 and $3.2 million in 2012-13 for an annual cap hit of $2.9 million, according to TSN’s Bob MacKenzie. This allows both sides to avoid restricted free agency until 2013, if at all.
After bursting on to the hockey scene with a Calder Trophy winning campaign that also nabbed him a Vezina Trophy nomination in 08-09, Mason’s production plummeted to earth in an Andrew Raycroftian way the next year. In his rookie season, he sported a 33-20-7 record with a 91.6 save percentage, 2.29 goals against average and a whopping 10 shutouts. Then, not unlike other former Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire, things fell apart in 09-10. He went 20-26-9 with a 90.1 save percentage, 3.06 GAA and five shutouts.
Many stats bloggers will point out that his 08-09 year was inflated quite a bit by a quick start and the often-misleading shutouts, but there’s little doubt that Mason regressed across the board.
So what does this mean? Well, it’s a nice gesture from Columbus, as it basically gives Mason a big vote of confidence. It’s as if the Blue Jackets are treating their young netminder the same way as the Montreal Canadiens are treating Carey Price. Both goalies have plenty of hype and pedigree, but after some struggling substantially, you must wonder if either team is making the right move.
Either way, it looks like Mason will be the Blue Jackets’ goalie for the next three seasons.