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Numbers Game: Thrashers Upgrade Goaltending With Mason

Scott Cullen
7/2/2010 4:37:13 PM
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Atlanta stabilized their goaltending position by signing a veteran who has been an above average starter for the last couple seasons.

Numbers Game looks at Atlanta's acquisition of Chris Mason.

The Thrashers Get: G Chris Mason.

St. Louis appeared ready to re-sign Mason until they surprisingly traded for Jaroslav Halak, leaving Mason to sign a two-year, $3.7-million deal with the Thrashers.

Mason, 34, has rather quietly become an effective starting goaltender over the last two seasons in St. Louis, with his .915 save percentage over the two years ranking tenth among goaltenders with at least 100 games played.

Last year, Mason played in a career-high 61 games, and while his save percentage of .913 was slightly below that of Johan Hedberg, who started 42 games for the Thrashers last season, Mason's track record suggests that he's more likely to repeat that above average performance.

One of the challenges for Mason will be in moving to a team that tied for 27th in the league in shots against (33.1 per game), which is about three shots per game more than the Blues surrendered last season.

However, with the off-season improvements already taking place in Atlanta, along with expected growth from their young players, the Thrashers could be closer to an average defence in terms of shots allowed and that should be enough support for Mason to continue putting up above-average numbers.

While the Thrashers might envision 22-year-old Ondrej Pavelec as their goaltender of the future, Mason's arrival gives Atlanta a much more proven option as their goaltender of the present.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.

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