Why the Flyers Deserve More Credit For Acquiring Steve Mason

You have heard how phenomenal Steve Mason has been this season for the Philadelphia Flyers. He has activated best mode, posting a remarkable .932 save percentage and a 2.14 GAA in 20 games.

He is carrying a Flyers team that is only averaging 2.21 goals-per-game.

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

For all this talk about Mason, you don’t hear an awful lot of people praising the Flyers organization for taking a gamble and acquiring him.

Early Struggles

Before the Flyers traded for Mason, the young goalie was struggling mightily in his career.

After winning the Calder trophy with the Columbus Blue Jackets in his first NHL season (2008-2009), Mason plummeted downwards.

During that Calder winning season, Mason posted a stellar .916 save percentage and a 2.29 GAA.  It was nowhere but down after that.

Over his next four seasons with Columbus, Mason posted a brutal .898 save percentage.

There was constant talk about how the Calder winner would never turn out be what people originally thought he would be.

If the Flyers scouted the recent highlight packages before acquiring him, they would see an unconfident goalie, a guy who could see his career going nowhere fast.

Why the Flyers?

So why, out of all possible options, would the Flyers go after Steve Mason?  The team had signed Ilya Bryzgalov in 2011 to whopping nine-year contract, only to see him fail to live up to expectations, forcing the team to buy him out.

The Flyers also were scrutinized for trading Sergei Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets after the 2011-2012 campaign. Bob would go on to win the Vezina trophy the next year with Columbus.

With these bad goaltending decisions by the Flyers organization, the team still had the guts to take a gamble on an extremely unproven goalie?

That deserves some recognition. If Mason played in Philly this season the way he played in Columbus these past few years, Paul Holmgren would have been ripped to shreds.

The team put their faith in a guy who had one good NHL season. That is all. One season is all the Flyers went off.

What they saw in that one Calder season with Columbus was spectacular though. Talent like that just doesn’t dissolve into average talent.

The Gamble that Could Have Gone Wrong

Massive credit must be given to the Flyers for giving Steve Mason a chance to rejuvenate his career.

Over the past three years, some had called Mason the “league’s worst goalie”.  The Flyers though, out of all the teams, decide to be the one to give him another chance.

This could have gone horribly wrong. The Flyers didn’t even acquire a proven number one goalie to share time with Mason. Mason was traded to the Flyers, the starting gig staring him right in the face.

Sure the Flyers didn’t give up much for him (Michael Leighton and a third round pick), but it’s also the fact the Flyers went after Mason (a cheap option) and not a more expensive, proven goalie.

Solving Their Goalie Issues

This article wasn’t to debate the moves of the Flyers organization and Paul Holmgren. There are many articles debating that. This was to prove that Steve Mason was nothing when the Flyers acquired him. Give the Flyers props because they are known for their goalie struggles, yet they decided to take in a goalie that had only one good NHL season under his belt.

It’s nice to finally see good goaltending in Philly.

Haven’t been watching the Flyers this season? Here is what you are missing. #StoneColdSteveMason

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @BradyTrett for all the latest insight and analysis on the Flyers.

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Brady Trettenero

Brady Trettenero

NHL Correspondent at The Hockey Writers
Brady is an aspiring NHL reporter who currently writes for Philadelphia Flyers Nation and the Hockey Writers. He is a fantasy hockey guy for Rotowire, and acts as a social media persona for Hooked on Hockey Magazine. Everything happens for a reason. Dream big.
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One Comment

  1. Good read. I think personally you make it sound like the Flyers got Mason as a future number one goalie and they had no other option which is a bit misleading. Fun article though thanks.

    ”This could have gone horribly wrong. The Flyers didn’t even acquire a proven number one goalie to share time with Mason. Mason was traded to the Flyers, the starting gig staring him right in the face”.

    Mason was acquired when Bryzgalov was still with the Flyers. The Flyers had a bad number one goalie in Bryz, but they still had they’re ”number one” goalie who was signied a year and a half prior to Mason getting to Philly. ”Mase” only played a few games last season (7 gp) with spectacular numbers for the Flyers. To get some insurance after the buyout of Bryzgalov this summer, they signed Emery. The stellar play of Mason made him the number # 1 goalie for the Flyers this season. The #1 gig was still up for grabs this season, Mason just took it with remarkable play.

    Cheers

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