Tom Reed of Puck-Rakers (and the Columbus Dispatch) has the dollar figures on Pascal Leclaire’s new contract:
Pascal Leclaire agreed to a three-year, $11.4 million contract on Wednesday. It’s a good deal for both sides. The Jackets did not over pay to keep a goalie who has given them one strong season. And if Leclaire performs to his expectations with a rebuilt defense in front of him, he should put up solid numbers, leading to a lucrative, longer-term deal in several years.
At an average cap hit of $3.8 million per season, Leclaire is right near the median salary for NHL goaltenders. His deal would also likely be the primary reference for the Edmonton Oilers and Mathieu Garon’s agent in negotiating an extension for Garon. Here are the statistics for the two goaltenders, post-lockout:
2005–06: 33 GP, 11-15-3, 3.23 GAA, .911 SV%
2006–07: 24 GP, 6-15-2, 2.97 GAA, .897 SV%
2007–08: 54 GP, 24-17-6, 2.25 GAA, .919 SV%
2005–06: 63 GP, 31-26-3, 3.22 GAA, .894 SV%
2006–07: 32 GP, 13-10-6, 2.66 GAA, .907 SV%
2007–08: 47 GP, 26-18-1, 2.66 GAA, .913 SV%
The numbers are pretty much a wash. Leclaire is four years younger than Garon, but aside from that they’re very, very similar. Leclaire has never played more than 60 games at any level, Garon has done so once. Both had a similar record last season, and similar statistics, playing for teams of about the same strength. Leclaire is coming off a career season, as is Garon, and while Leclaire’s numbers (GAA and SV%) look stronger, the Blue Jackets allowed only 218 goals, as compared to the Oilers’ 251. They are very comparable players, although I’d argue that Leclaire has more leverage coming off the season he just had, given his age and the difference in save percentage and GAA.
There was a great post up at Mc79hockey.com about how it’s a buyers market for goaltenders in 2008–09, and I tend to agree with that. That said, would it be reasonable to speculate that Garon would likely accept a two-year, $6-million contract extension? If the price range was at about $3 million per season, I think the Oilers would be well-advised to sign him, because while Lowe seems to have a good eye for acquiring goaltenders through trade or free agency (Dwayne Roloson, Mathieu Garon), why fix something that isn’t broken?
—Jonathan Willis is the owner of Copper & Blue, a blog dedicated to all things Oil, and a frequent contributor to OilersNation.com.