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Predators need a new backup

Jun 17, 2013, 7:23 PM EDT

chrismasonbeardgetty Getty Images

Chris Mason occasionally sports a breathtaking beard, but his netminding was downright hairy during the 2013 season.

With that in mind, Nashville Predators GM David Poile told the Tennessean that the team will look for a different backup behind $7 million starter Pekka Rinne for the 2013-14 campaign.

(More precisely, Poile said the team “might, maybe and in all probability will be looking to see what’s available,” which is a very David Poile way of saying such things.)

Rinne’s first season as one of the NHL’s richest netminders was disappointing, with a 15-16-8 record and a .910 save percentage (compared to his .920 career average). Still, his numbers look fantastic compared to Mason’s 1-7-1 record and abysmal .878 save percentage.

Those stats make it tough to fathom the 37-year-old playing in the NHL next season, but at minimum, he probably won’t be with the Predators.

The crop of backups isn’t too promising, with Jose Theodore, Mathieu Garon, Ray Emery and Nikolai Khabibulin among the most notable potential targets.

Nashville might also turn to 22-year-old prospect Magnus Hellberg, although Poile said he’d rather give the big Swede another year to develop.

“That’s another thing we’re talking about within our organization too, is whether he’s had enough experience yet,” Poile said. “I think our druthers would be to see him play another full year down there (in Milwaukee) in terms of his development.”

Odds are high that the new guy’s numbers will look better either way, although few could top his facial hair.

  1. krebsy34 - Jun 17, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    After the season Emery has had, I’d bring him in for a look if he hits the open market.

  2. pastabelly - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Khoudobin will also be available.

  3. chuchie414 - Jun 17, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    Leave Hellberg in the AHL. All indication is he has the ability to be an elite goalie. Don’t rush him!

  4. jcmeyer10 - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Side discussion: can we call beard face flow? Or if anyone has a better suggestion I am all ears.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      Hockeyflow where are you?! As the decider of all things flow, we need your input.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 18, 2013 at 12:08 AM

        I feel like a celebrity now

      • mrpinkca - Jun 18, 2013 at 12:29 AM

        Evasive answer? You are a celebrity.

  5. jacketsfan7 - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Bernier is on the verge of a trade

    • Windmiller4 - Jun 17, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      But why would the Preds need him? They already have Rinne, and they have Hellburg in the AHL. They should be looking for a veteran guy who can put up good numbers. Personally i think they should bring in Khabibulin if he decides not to retire, a .923 save percentage on the Oilers last year shows he can still play.

      • ray2013 - Jun 18, 2013 at 3:43 AM

        He’s perfect for this situation, imo. His .923 save percentage came behind one of the worst defensive corps in the NHL, if not the worst.

        Play him every fifth or sixth game, with the Preds’ D in front of him, he’ll look like a champ for a season or two.

    • gekkoguy82 - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      It’d basically be a lateral move for Bernier, which is not something I’ve he seems to be interested in. He wants to get out of Quick’s shadow, so I don’t believe he’d like being in Rinne’s. It’d be a great deal for the Preds, I’m just not sure Bernier would be interested. He’s looking for a lot more playing time than he’d get with Rinne as starter.

  6. dfpoor - Jun 18, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Each would make a good backup. Who would O’Brien prefer, Luongo? The Outlaw Jose Theodore would be a good fit.

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