Leclaire inked to 3 year deal

Light the LampSenior Writer IJuly 30, 2008
Puck-rakers just reported that Pascal Leclaire has re-signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Goaltender Pascal Leclaire has signed a three-year contract worth $11.4 million with the Blue Jackets, The Dispatch has learned.

The deal will pay Leclaire $3 million this season, $3.6 million in 2009-10 and $4.8 million in 2010-11.
Hard to argue with those numbers and term. I think both sides compromised to get a deal done.
The deal averages out to 3.8 mil a season - just a little under what I expected. The 3 years term buys up 1 year of unrestricted free agency eligibility (it may be 2 years?) and will give Steve Mason plenty of time to develop. Perhaps in a year or two the Jackets may find themselves in the enviable position of having two #1 goalies on their hands which will be a strong asset to dangle on the trade market.
For now though this is signing makes perfect sense for both the Jackets and Leclaire. It gives the Jackets stability in goal and as mentioned, allows for valuable development time for Mason. For Leclaire he gets rewarded for his performance last year, gets some stability while also allowing him the opportunity to revisit the market in a few years time. This contract will take him to age 28 which will be right at the beginning of his prime.
The most interesting thing to me about this deal is that Howson continues to back load contracts. A practice that I thought Howson would shy away from more than he has. Remember that the more you back load the less payroll flexibility you'll have in the future to fill holes or re-sign players.
Both Umberger and Leclaire are deals Howson back loaded. Tyutin, Modin, Nash and Klesla also have back loaded deals all of which were done under the previous administration or obtained through trade.
Commodore on the other hand was front loaded. From what I can tell with Huselius it looks to be an average deal of 4.75 mil per year.
Anyhow I'll trust that Howson has a plan and that Umberger and Leclaire weren't back loaded just to fit under an ownership mandated budget number (yes I'm giving the benefit of the doubt for now).
This re-signing caps off a flurry of moves that started on draft day by Jackets GM Scott Howson. By my count this brings the Jackets payroll up to 47.335 million for 22 players. The Jackets will most likely carry 23 players so Howson is looking roughly at a payroll of 48-49 million -- by far the most in Jackets history.
Is there room in the coffers for any more wheeling and dealing? Time will tell but as I've stated before I think they'll head into camp with this group and then go from there.
Great news to have Leclaire back in the fold. Its certainly a bit of a relief that things didn't get nasty in the negotiations. Now we just need him to stay healthy!

Discuss -
like the deal?
-LTL

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