Philly’s goaltending situation took another turn on Wednesday when Michal Neuvirth inked a two-year, $5 million extension with a $2.5M average annual cap hit.
Neuvirth was, along with battery mate Steve Mason, a pending UFA. But now he’s under contract through 2019, whereas Mason faces an uncertain future.
That said, Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t ruling out a return of “Mase-virth.”
Now the Flyers have a goalie under contract for next season at a very low cost, one they can expose in the NHL expansion draft in June without having to expose [Anthony] Stolarz, which would have been their only other option.
That, too, crossed Hextall’s mind.
“This gives us flexibility,” Hextall said. “We had one choice before and now we have two. We have a goalie we feel very comfortable with. Neuvy has done a good job.
“Obviously, the injuries, we talked about that. If it weren’t for the injuries, we wouldn’t be talking about $2.5 cap hit, probably. Again, for multiple reasons, I didn’t want to go into July 1 needing two goalies and the expansion draft.”
As for Mason …
“That doesn’t suggest we won’t sign Mase, but just that the timing,” Hextall said. “I wanted to get something done before the deadline.”
The piece goes on to note Hextall and the Flyers haven’t had any substantive talks with Mason about an extension. Which suggests Hextall’s comments might be pure window dressing.
Really, there doesn’t seem to be much appetite in returning the duo.
Both Neuvirth and Mason have struggled with consistency, though the former can chalk his up to injury problems (and, of the two, Neuvirth has probably been steadier).
The two have combined to give Philly the second-worst team save percentage in the league, one of the reasons why it heads into tonight’s action four points back of Toronto for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.