Unless something changes dramatically in contract negotiations between Mason’s camp and the Flyers, the 29 year old goal tender is free-agency bound. On Wednesday, his agent Anton Thun said that the talks between him and Ron Hextall were not promising.
From all accounts, Mason wanted the team to at least engage in contract negotiations, but thus far that has not been the case.
This leaves our top 2 goalies as Michael Neuvirth (.891 save percentage) and Anthony Stolarz, who is only 23 and does not have a lot of experience. If Hextall does decide to let Mason hit the open market with no plans of resigning him, the team is going to have to bring in another goalie or 2 via free agency or draft. The Flyers will need to address the most important position on the roster in order to be taken seriously.
Neuvirth is very injury prone and most certainly not the long term answer and it is still too early to tell what Stolarz can become.
To some, Mason will be missed, to others, this decision could not come soon enough. The fan base was split in half on him, this is due to his inconsistency. When Mason is on, he can steal games and is the best player on the ice, when he is down, he is unbearable.
Personally, I am going to miss Mason. I was a fan of his and never felt he ever played behind a defense that allowed him to thrive, he also had added value in his puck handling which helped sprung offensive rushes.
Maybe one day the Flyers will get the goalie position right, Mason is third in the franchise in wins, that should be telling. In recent memory we have suffered through Bobvrosky, Bryzgalov, and now the Mason/Neuvirth combo.
The position has to be given priority now, we simply do not have a team that can win without a stud goaltender.
Good luck to Steve Mason in his future!