Mason ready to start but veteran goalie may join him

Steve Mason joined the Flyers late last season. "I trust him as one of our two goalies, but I believe he has a bright future," general manager Paul Holmgren said.
Steve Mason joined the Flyers late last season. "I trust him as one of our two goalies, but I believe he has a bright future," general manager Paul Holmgren said. (   MATT SLOCUM / AP)
Posted: June 27, 2013

The news Tuesday that Ilya Bryzgalov had been bought out does not change the thinking of the man who, at least for the time being, has been elevated to the No. 1 goalie spot on the Flyers' depth chart.

"Regardless of who the other goalie was going to be in camp, I was prepared to come in and win the job," said Steve Mason, 25, after taking a break from playing in Scott Hartnell's benefit golf tournament Tuesday in Western Canada.

Five seasons ago, Mason was rookie of the year with Columbus, but he struggled in his next three-plus seasons with the Blue Jackets. He seemed to revive his career in a brief late-season stint with the Flyers this year.

"I'm a big Steve Mason fan," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He's a very young goalie and, for his age, has a lot of experience. Ideally, we'd be able to get a guy that would work in tandem with him, but the bulk [would go] onto Steve. We'll see how it goes."

Asked whether he felt comfortable with Mason as the No. 1 goalie, Holmgren said, "I trust him as one of our two goalies, but I believe he has a bright future."

The Flyers are expected to add a veteran goalie. There are several free-agent goalies who could be in their price range, including Jose Theodore, former Flyer Ray Emery, Evgeni Nabokov, and Dan Ellis.

Teams cannot talk to prospective free agents until July 3; free agency starts July 5.

"It's going to be a wild ride for the next little while," Holmgren said.

In seven games with the Flyers, Mason had a 1.90 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage. He appeared to regain the confidence he displayed while winning the rookie-of-the-year award by compiling a 2.29 goals-against average, a .916 save percentage, and 10 shutouts in 2008-09.

The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder called the trade that brought him from Columbus for Michael Leighton and a third-round 2015 draft pick a "rebirth" of sorts, and said the last three years in Columbus had "beat me down, mentally."

Now he is ready to begin a new chapter.

"Obviously, with Bryz gone, there's an opportunity," Mason said. "I'm taking it as a big challenge and ready for it. It's an exciting time for myself."

Mason was dealt to the Flyers after Sergei Bobrovsky won the starting job in Columbus. Bobrovsky, a former Flyer, won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie this season.


 

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