Former backup goalie follows lead of other Preds making return trip to team

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 1:01am

Chris Mason is not the first player to come back to the Nashville Predators after time spent with another franchise.

The veteran goalie’s recent return as a free agent is unique, though, in that his history with the franchise is extensive.

He played 135 games and registered 58 wins in his two previous stints over all or parts of six other seasons.

Typically, second chances with the Predators have come only when the player’s first go-round did not last that long.

A look at others who have had more than one opportunity with Nashville:

Francis Bouillon, defenseman (2002-03 and 2009-2012): Claimed off waivers from Montreal early in 2002-03, he played just four games before the Predators placed him back on waivers and the Canadiens reclaimed him. Nashville signed him as a free agent early in the 2009 training camp, and except for an extended period when he was sidelined by a concussion, he was a stalwart on the blue line over the past three seasons.

Greg de Vries, defenseman (1998-99 and 2007-2009): Acquired in a trade with Edmonton nine days prior to the franchise’s inaugural contest, he was traded to Colorado 23 days later after just seven appearances. Almost a decade later, he signed as a free agent and played 148 games over two seasons.

Jeremy Stevenson, left wing (2000-2002 and 2003-2006): After just 12 NHL appearances in two NHL seasons, Nashville allowed him to become a free agent in 2003. Five games into the next season, though, the Predators claimed him off waivers from Minnesota, and he played in 88 games before he went to Dallas via waivers in 2006.

Simon Gamache, left wing (2003-2006): A consistently productive minor leaguer who played just 18 NHL games for the Predators, he was claimed by St. Louis off waivers early in 2005-06 and reclaimed two months later by Nashville, which immediately reassigned him to Milwaukee.

Randy Robitaille, center, (1999-2001 and 2005): He scored 20 goals in 131 appearances over two seasons then left as a free agent. He was re-signed in 2005 but did not make the roster in training camp and went to Minnesota via the waiver draft.