There was lots of chatter following this morning's trade between the Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets as Habs fans were hoping to see another move take place in Montreal.
Earlier this morning, the Canadiens acquired right-winger Joel Armia and goalie Steve Mason from the Jets — along with a seventh-round pick at the 2019 NHL Draft and a fourth-round pick in 2020 — in exchange for defenseman Simon Bourque.
Fans wondered why the Habs were taking on yet another goalie on board, however, Mason was not a Canadian for very long. The Canadiens have placed the veteran goaltender on unconditional waivers in order to buy out his contract, as reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.
This is the move the Jets needed to make a salary dump and get enough money under the cap ceiling to re-sign star forward and pending free agent Paul Statsny. He was acquired from the St. Louis Blues at the February trade deadline in a shocking move and was one of the main reasons the Jets made it so far in the postseason.
Mason appeared in 13 games for the Jets during the 2017-18 campaign, posting a 5-6-1 record, along with a 3.24 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage and one shutout, but counted for a little over $4 millions on the team's cap room. By moving him to the Habs, the Jets not only can attempt to re-sign Statsny but also focus on star goalie Connor Hellebuyck. His overall record is 205-183-64 in 476 career appearances in between the pipes, along with a 2.70 goals-against average, a .911 save percentage and 34 shutouts.
It is believed the Habs were able to convince the Jets to move Armia by taking on Mason's contract, knowing he would either be on the move on bought out later today. The Canadiens listed with $14.5 million in salary-cap space for next season heading into Sunday’s NHL free-agent sweepstakes, according to Cap Friendly.
As the Canadiens boast on their official team's website following the transaction, "Armia is coming off his most productive season points-wise in the NHL ranks, setting single-season highs in all three major offensive categories with 12 goals, 17 assists and 29 points in 79 games."
The Habs did manage a good trade today, which should encourage fans to trust GM Marc Bergevin a little more after many questionable seasons at the helm of the team.