directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Leclaire inked to 3 year deal

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Leclaire inked to 3 year deal

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?



Matt said...

Very pleased. Good money, good term. Thanks, Mr. Howson!

Anonymous said...

I like the deal, seems like a good one for both sides. I did a bit of research as to why they would backload a contract in this manner and the explanation makes good sense.

Pazzy's contract averages what? 3.8? So, instead of paying the guy 3.8, 3.8, 3.8, they get the 3 million so he fits under our current budget, then give him a reasonable raise for year 2 and then the 4.8 in the final year.

Here's why it is 4.8 in year 3: the likely concern for Pazzy is that he will be negotiating a free agent contract for his next one, and he wants his starting point to be 4.8 and not 3.8. This way he is guaranteed to start negotiationg a million dollars higher than he would if he accepted a 3.8, 3.8, 3.8.

Now, from the jackets standpoint, their hope is that both Pazzy and Mason turn out to be the goalies that everyone thinks they will be and they then have two really good goalies for around 6 million bucks (assuming all goes well and Pazzy's next contract is in the 5.3 range and Mason is still on his entry level deal).

The reason for front loading contract is often because a guy is taking a longer term and is ploughing right through several years of his free-agent years. Briere, Vinny are good examples of this. By the time they are well into their term and start to think about maybe retiring, they have their money from their heavy front loaded contract. The front loaders don't miss anything by signing a long-term deal that eats up their free agent years.

Make sense?

PDX Pens said...

Interesting analysis "anonymous". My take on the deal the BJ's have a choice? They absolutely HAD to sign Leclaire. Let's face it, there is no one in the organization, or outside in free agency that could carry the load that Pascal will carry. All the money they spent on free agents this season would be all for nothing if they didn't have a "real" goaltender. No offense to Norrena, but he didn't exactly set the world on fire last season, even as a backup.

Anonymous said...

No, Noreena wasn't a very good backup last year, he was better as the starting guy the year before.

I am not quite sure what you are getting at that the jackets had no choice. Of course they were going to get him done--he hadn't filed for arbitration and both parties wanted a deal to be done. He is their goalie and getting a deal done was never in question.

As it said in the paper today, the only thing that seemed to hold up the negotiations was that final year.

Erik said...

Regarding the cap speculation… sure Leclaire wants to have a higher salary in the last season, that’s a good starting point for a negotiation. However looking at the cap over the next coming years, one thing jumps out.. Flexibility for Howsen, he now has 8 mil to play with this year. I personally think he might still be looking for any good bargain basement deals, as well as being open for any offer that might come from teams that have cap issues. I don’t except much to happen, quite frankly I think we are done for the off-season… However this flexibility allows us to jump at an opportunity if it occurs.. That is a nice luxury to have.. Thumbs up to Howsen for an excellent job so far.. Now lets get Filatov to the States…

Rick said...

Just wanted to lete you know that you got a mention on the Yahoo Puck-Daddy Blog with the Pazzy story...

"But it's clear Columbus is rather high on him; Leclaire was basically a deal-killer last season during the Brad Richards derby, from all accounts. At least they're high enough where they want him to be the starter until, as Light the Lamp speculates, Steve Mason's ready to inherit the gig."

Also like this quote "Good signing for C-bus. Hopefully the Ohio State fans don't pitch a fit when the local newspaper gives this some well-deserved ink."

Erik said...

the Ottawa Senators have headed off arbitration by agreeing on a two-year, $5.5 million deal with forward Antoine Vermette, according to the Ottawa Sun..

tom said...

Vermette just signed...

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators finally have Antoine Vermette's signature on a contract extension.

The 25-year-old has agreed to a new two-year deal with the team. Terms of the deal were not immediately available. He earned US$1.075 million last year.

Vermette recorded career highs in both goals (24) and points (53) while appearing in 81 games for the Senators last season.

He was also among the league leaders with a 56.7 per cent faceoff win rate.

In 297 career games with Ottawa, Vermette has 71 goals and 139 points.

LTL said...

Haha.. nice find Rick. That writer has taken some funny shots at that whole Buckeye vs. Jackets deal.


LTL said...

Shocked Vermette took a two year deal to be honest...if that money is accurate that's a pretty sweet deal for Ottawa.

Whelp now that thats over who is next on our wishlists?!!