July 1, 2012
Glass, Mason leave Jets for greener pastures
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
Two popular players and dressing-room leaders have left the Winnipeg Jets for greener pastures -- and in this case, we're not talking about more money.
As free agency opened up on July 1, left-winger Tanner Glass and backup goalie Chris Mason got close to re-signing with the Jets but eventually signed elsewhere.
Glass signed a two-year deal worth $2.2 million with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Mason is going back to the Nashville Predators on a one-year deal worth $1.25 million.
Glass, 28, is coming off a season that saw him produce a career-high five goals, 11 assists and 16 points to go along with 73 penalty minutes in 78 games. He was also 10th in the NHL in hits.
After reaching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in 2011 with the Vancouver Canucks, the chance to play with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, was too good to pass up.
"It was fun in Winnipeg and to play with the (Sedin) Twins in Vancouver, but these guys are fun to watch in highlights and I'm excited to be on the ice with them every day and learn from them," Glass said from Manhattan Beach, Calif. "They sold me on the fit in Pittsburgh, that I can be valuable and have a role on that team. It's a team that can win and that got me.
"This past year, I gained some tremendous experience and I really enjoyed it. I have nothing but good things to say."
Mason, meanwhile, looked like a strong bet to re-sign with the Jets. But after they offered a two-year deal on Saturday, Mason decided he should wait and see what other interest was out there.
"It's kind of chaotic. I was torn, to be honest with you," Mason said from Hawaii. "It went back-and-forth and all over the place. At this point, being at my age (36), I don't have a lot of years left to try to win and I just felt that this was my best chance to do that.
"I'm not saying by any means that Winnipeg doesn't have a chance to win, I just feel like Nashville is a little further along in their development."
Mason, who was 8-7-1 with a 2.59 goals against average in 20 games last season, was thankful to be part of the Jets' return.
"Anybody that knows me knows that I have the utmost respect for Winnipeg and the organization," said Mason. "I know that Winnipeg is on their way to having a solid, contending team in the NHL."
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wished both players well with their new clubs.
"I don't look at it as rejected," said Cheveldayoff. "We feel very proud about the offers that we put onto the table. They were good offers. For whatever reason, whatever circumstance, the players chose to go in a different direction."
A source confirmed that Dan Ellis is one of the goalies being considered for the backup role behind Ondrej Pavelec.