Columbus Blue Jackets ink Steve Mason to two-year extension despite sophomore slump

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for masonpulled.jpgThere’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.

Memorial Cup champion goalie Appleby signs with Devils

Ken Appleby
The Canadian Press via AP
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Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.

Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.

Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.

Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL stars weigh in on McDavid

Connor McDavid
The Canadian Press via AP
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)

While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)

Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (