The deal saw the Panthers get Vokoun for a first round pick and two second round picks.
Read between the lines ...
"We saw Chris Mason emerge as a No. 1 goaltender in 2006-07 and with full confidence in Chris and Pekka Rinne, we felt as if we could make this move," said Predators general manager David Poile. "Mason won 24 games for us this past season, starting 21 in a row at one point, and finished with the second-highest save percentage in the NHL.
"In addition, this trade will help restock our organizational assets and affords our team more payroll flexibility. We now have two first-round picks in 2008, which is projected to be a strong entry draft.
OK, since when does a club like the Nashville Predators need to re-stock on assets? They have lots of great young talent and prospects in their organization, so the need to deal away a prime #1 goaltender for nothing but draft picks is silly.
Now, Chris Mason has been pretty good the past two seasons in his backup role.
Chris Mason - 92.5SV% in 2007, 91.3SV% in 2006
Tomas Vokoun - 92.0SV% in 2007, 91.9SV% in 2006
While Mason has been just as good (in half as many games, mind you), this kind of move was purely financial for the Predators.
By dealing Vokoun to the Panthers, the Preds shave off his 4-year, 5.7mil-a-season contract while getting very little in return but prospects.
Yes, Mason could probably do the job for much cheaper, but this move wouldn't be made if the Preds weren't for sale. As bullish as I am about Mason and his ability to do the job, I know that the Preds would have received an actual player in return if they weren't in 'fire-sale' mode.
As for the Panthers, this is a brilliant move for them. Goaltending was their weakest position, and now they got a great #1 goaltender. So long, Ed Belfour!