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Mason, Armia traded to Canadiens by Jets, who make salary cap room

Winnipeg receives defensemen Bourque, sends two draft picks to Montreal @NHLdotcom

Steve Mason, Joel Armia and two draft picks were traded to the Montreal Canadiens by the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday for defenseman Simon Bourque.

The Canadiens acquired a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.


[RELATED: 2018-19 NHL Trade Tracker]


Mason was 5-6-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage and one shutout for the Jets this season. Winnipeg signed the 30-year-old goalie to a two-year, $8.2 million contract (average annual value $4.1 million) on July 1, 2017.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Tuesday he was trying to find ways to free space under the NHL salary cap in hopes of re-signing center Paul Stastny, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. However, Stastny signed with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

Mason has played 476 NHL games (458 starts) with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and Jets. He is 205-183-64 with a 2.70 GAA, a .911 save percentage and 34 shutouts. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year with the Blue Jackets in 2008-09.

The Canadiens bought out Mason's contract ($2.7 million over the next two seasons) July 1. Mason was placed on waivers June 30.

Armia, a 25-year-old forward, had 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 79 games for the Jets this season and two goals in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has 58 points (26 goals, 32 assists) in 180 NHL games during four NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and Jets.

The Sabres selected Armia in the first round (No. 16) in the 2011 NHL Draft, He was traded to Winnipeg with defenseman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, a prospect and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft for forward Evander Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and a prospect Feb. 11, 2015.

Armia, who signed a two-year contract with an average annual value of $925,000 on July 14, 2016, can become a restricted free agent July 1.

Armia is from Pori, Finland, also the hometown of Montreal center Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22.

"It's a great thing," the 17-year-old told the Canadiens website. "I know Joel a little bit. It's great to get another Pori guy here. I'm very excited about that. We have many of the same friends. He's a very skilled player. He's a big guy (6-foot-3, 205 pounds). I think he has some of the same [qualities] as (Jets forward) Patrik Laine. He's a great player."

The Jets acquired Stastny in a trade from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 26 for two draft picks and a prospect. Stastny had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 19 regular-season games for the Jets and 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 17 games in the playoffs, helping the Jets reach the Western Conference Final.

After trading Armia, the Jets have seven players who can become a restricted free agent July 1, including No. 1 goalie Connor Hellebuyck, who was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this season after going 44-11-9 with a 2.36 goals-against-average and .922 save percentage.

His 44 wins tied Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the NHL lead and broke Tom Barrasso's single-season NHL record for most victories by a United States-born goaltender (43 with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93). His nine straight wins to end the regular season are a franchise record.

Defensemen Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey each can become a restricted free agent. In addition, the Jets are looking ahead because forwards Laine, Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each is entering the last year of his contract.

"We're more focused on getting our own players signed under a certain cap number," Cheveldayoff said. "Ever since the Stanley Cup Final, that's when the business of hockey kicks in."

Bourque, a 21-year-old defenseman, was chosen by the Canadiens in the sixth round (No. 177) of the 2015 NHL Draft. He had three assists in 46 games with Laval of the American Hockey League this season.

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