WINNIPEG, CANADA - DECEMBER 22: Chris Mason #50 of the Winnipeg Jets wears his new pads during warmup before a game against the Montreal Canadiens in NHL action at the MTS Centre on December 22, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
It looks like the Predators are bringing Chris Mason back to be Pekka Rinne's backup -- a move sure to be loved by fans and coaches in Nashville alike. He'll make $1.25 million for one season, plus bonuses.
Fittingly, Mase began his career with the Preds, as a backup goalie. During the inaugural 1998-1999, Mason appeared in three games in relief. Then, after a few dominant season in Milwaukee, Mason became Tomas Vokoun's understudy in 2005. And after Vokoun contracted a rare blood condition in 2006, Mason was thrust into the starting job, performing admirably with a .925 SV% and 5 shutouts in 38 starts. He also became the ninth goalie to ever score a goal that season, as some poor fool on the Coyotes shot it in his own net, and Mason got credit.
In 2007, Mason started the season as the Preds' #1 goalie, after Vokoun's offseason departure in the fire sale, but ultimately lost his job to his own backup Dan Ellis, beginning that weird cycle of backups overtaking starters in Nashville.
With a .910 career SV%, I've always considered Mason a criminally underrated goalie, and am happy to have him back in a diminished role. He's a nice veteran to have around, yes, but he's also actually good enough to start, if needed, which is no small thing.
You may remember donning a bald cap or shaving your head during the 2006 season in solidarity with Mason. Or, if you're a more recent fan, you may know of Mason's cool pads in Winnipeg (pictured above). Either way, Mason's creative equipment and pithy from-the-bench interviews give all Preds fans something more to look forward to this season.