Recently Eklund has posted a rumor suggesting that the Columbus Blue Jackets are interested in Chris Mason and/or Antero Niittymaki.
Now while I don't doubt the Blue Jackets have interest in both goalies, and all goalies for that matter, I do doubt the fact that they will be able to get either of these goalies.
Lets start with Chris Mason, who is currently injured but is expected back within the week. Mason is scheduled for UFA status this summer and currently makes 1.85M, which is a reasonable price for a goalie that is capable of sharing the starting role in Columbus. The problem is convincing Winnipeg to trade away their backup tender and replace him with Peter Mannino.
Mannino is currently Winnipeg's backup with Mason on the IR, but has not played a single game. Mannino's NHL stats are awful and IMHO he is at best an AHL goalie, and I highly doubt Winnipeg would be comfortable giving him their backup role.
The San Jose Sharks on the other hand are in a more comfortable situation to deal a goaltender. With Thomas Griess stepping up and proving that he can handle being Antii Niemi's backup right now.
Niittymaki himself is currently on the IR, and like Mason is expected to be back fairly soon. His cap hit is an even 2M and he is a UFA at years end, so he seems to be a better fit for the Blue Jackets then Mason is.
So what would the cost be for the Blue Jackets to acquire Niittymaki, I'm going to guess it will be a second or third round pick. This seems like a reasonable price, and one that Jackets GM Scott Howson should jump at in an effort to save his job.
However, the Blue Jackets are currently right up against the cap with just $80,000 in space left. Couple that with the assumed demotion of current backup Allen York and the Jackets will have 1.3M in cap space, which is not enough to fit Niittymaki's 2M hit under.
There are ways to fit Antero under the cap, as the Jackets have been shopping Derrick Brassard and his 3.2M cap hit, and they also have Kristian Huselius and his 4.75M hit on the IR that they could move to the LTIR.
Either way, it is clear that Scott Howson and the Jackets need to act fast to turn their season around.