A Closer Look at the NHL Central: Columbus Blue Jackets, Part Two

Bethany PCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2008

Let’s take a quick look at the Blue Jackets goaltending.  I will be looking at The Cannon’s amazing depth chart as a reference. 

The Blue Jackets will have their number-one goaltender in Pascal Leclaire.  Leclaire was recently signed to a new three-year deal.  Pazzy stole the show last season with his nine shutouts, and made Blue Jackets fans fall in love with him all over again. 

The question with Leclaire is: Can he stay healthy?  It seems to always be a issue for him.  He did, for the most part, have a healthy season last year, except for a few times where he had the flu. 

Leclaire posted a 24-17-6 record with a .919 save percentage, and a 2.25 GAA.  IF Pascal is back into his old form, then we have a solid number-one goaltender.

Fredrik Norrena will be the backup for Leclaire this coming season.  He will, however, receive a push from Steve Mason, our ‘goaltender of the future.’  Freddy had a bad season last year, with a 10-19-6 record, a .896 GAA, and a 2.76 GAA.  Not all of that is his fault—for one reason or another the team did not play in front of him for most games.  Though, there were a few games that could be blamed on him. 

In the 2006-2007 Norrena became the first goaltender in Blue Jackets history to have a .500 record.  Norrena is in the final year of his contract, and if Mason develops enough this coming season, Norrena very well could be out of a job with the Blue Jackets.

Our goaltender of the future, Steve Mason is expected to play in Syracuse this coming season.  Mason was traded to the Kitchener Rangers after World Juniors, to play in the Memorial Cup. However, Mason sustained a pretty serious knee injury, and was unable to play in the Memorial Cup game.  And, according to this piece by the Dispatch, as of mid-July Mason could not go down into the butterfly without serious pain. 

Mason, if you recall, was the winning goaltender for Team Canada at World Juniors.  If Mason’s recovery goes as planned, he will be ready for rookie camp on September 12.  Let’s hope so. 

I am anxious to see how he recovers from this. You know it had to hit hard not just physically, but mentally also.  My guess is that Mason will be called up a few times throughout the year, and will get to play a few games with the Jackets just to see how he does.

Dan Lacosta had a tough season last year also.  He was injured in the Elmira bus Accident, suffering an ankle injury.  Lacosta played part of a game last season.  If there are any injuries to Norrena or Leclaire, Lacosta might come up, but my guess is that job will go to Mason.