Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jets All Out Top 25: #12 Johnny Oduya & #11 Chris Mason

Johnny Oduya, 29, Defense, 6'0, 200 lbs
Last Year's Rating: N/A This Year's Rating: #12 Difference: N/A

Chris Mason, 35, Goalie, 6'0, 200 lbs
Last Year's Rating: N/A This Year's Rating: #11 Difference: N/A

After a successful junior career in the QMJHL with both the Victoriaville Tigres and Moncton Wildcats in 2000-01, defenseman Johnny Oduya decided to spend more time back in his native Sweden, playing in the Swedish Elite League from 2003-04 until the 2005-06 season.

Despite being drafted 221st overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Oduya did not debut in the NHL until the 2006-07 season with the New Jersey Devils - the team who selected him in the seventh round.

Oduya made an immediate impact, playing 76 games in his rookie season collecting 11 points (two goals, nine assists).

He would spend three full seasons in New Jersey, playing in all 82 games in 2008-09, scoring a career high 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists).

Known as a two-way defenseman, Oduya can chip in with five-ten goals per season, around 25 points and bring a solid defensive game to the ice. His leadership has shown through in his career. Though only in the league for five seasons, Oduya has become a leader on the Jets blueline while in Atlanta along with veteran Ron Hainsey.

Look for Oduya to help in aiding the development of young defenders such as Zach Bogosian, Paul Postma, Andrey Zubarev, Zach Redmond, and Cody Sol in the future.

Behind Oduya and the defense is veteran backup goalie Chris Mason.

Though situated as the Jets backup since his time in Atlanta, Mason did end up starting 33 games last season, taking over main duties early in the season with starter Ondrej Pavelec was out with injury issues.

Though he had a mediocre 13-13-3 record and subpar numbers: 3.39 goals against average and a .892 save percentage, his leadership and experience is what is keeping him in a Jets uniform as a mentor for the young Pavelec.

Mason has seen many different cities and been the starter for other clubs, including St. Louis, where he won a career high 30 games in 2009-10. He has also won 20 games during two other seasons, with the Blues and Nashville Predators.

For Mason, his main duty is the supportive, mentor-like backup goalie. But his enthusiasm and his knack for having one of the sharpest masks in the NHL will help a young Jets team be even more exuberant about coming to a hockey mad city in Winnipeg.

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