June 24, 2012
Jets' Mason wants a deal
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
WINNIPEG - Chris Mason understands the clock is ticking.
The veteran goalie remains hopeful he can get a new deal done with the Winnipeg Jets and avoid unrestricted free agency. But he’s also been around long enough to realize that it might take getting to July 1 before the sides find common ground.
“I really have no idea,” Mason said in a telephone interview from Red Deer, Alta.
Much like everyone who follows the Jets, Mason is curious to see what effect, if any, the move to acquire Jonas Gustavsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs has on his future.
Finding a resolution with pending unrestricted free agent Ondrej Pavelec remains the top priority for the Jets, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff reiterated on Saturday.
“A lot hinges on getting things done with Pav,” said Mason, who was 8-7-1 with a 2.59 goals against average and .898 save percentage last season. “We talked (with the Jets) last week before the draft and we haven’t spoken to them since. They’ve got a lot of things going on. It’s just a numbers game now, we’ll see how the dominoes fall.
“I don’t know if I’d say stressful, but there is so much uncertainty. You know what, it’s totally business. They have to protect themselves. They can’t leave themselves in a vulnerable situation.”
Mason will spend the next few days on a family vacation in Hawaii, leaving agent Tom Laidlaw to sort things out.
“This was planned a while ago,” Mason explained. “We’re going to get out of town, turn the brain off and whatever happens, happens.”
While Mason’s preference is to remain with the Jets, it sounds like he’s hoping for a multi-year deal.
“It’s tough, I want to be back,” said Mason, who is one of the leaders on a young team. “I would love to see a rebuild of the Jets through. At my age (36), obviously they won’t want to go as long as I would like. That’s one of the things that’s important to me.
“In my career, I’ve been on teams that are rebuilding and then moved onto different situations after, when the teams are coming of age and all of that. But it’s definitely an option, that’s for sure.”
And Mason believes the Jets are trending upward.
“It’s an unbelievable organization and the people running the ship are quality, class-act people. It’s something I felt very fortunate to be a part of last year,” said Mason. “I definitely think they’re going in the right direction but these things take time. It’s not like you can get the team one year and become a Stanley Cup contender, though everybody would like that.”
It’s looking like a bit of a volatile market for goalies, with some already traded and several others still looking for new homes. Once July 1 hits, the goalie carousel might be in full swing.
“There are a few spots out there for a veteran goaltender and I’m aware of teams that could potentially fill that spot,” said Mason. “You look at what the logical destinations are and if somebody wants you, they call you and go from there.
“But so many different things can happen between now and July 1. You have to wait and see and take that kind of attitude.”