After spending parts of five seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers and completely turning his career around it seems that Steve Mason‘s time with the team has reached its conclusion.
At least that is the way his agent, Anton Thun, made it sound when talking to the Philly.com regarding the state of negotiations between the team and Mason (there have been none).
Basically, it comes down to the Flyers choosing Michal Neuvirth over Mason this summer. Mason is eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1 and at the moment all signs point to him hitting the open market.
“In all honesty, he would have hoped the Flyers would have been interested enough to enter into contract negotiations with him right now, but they didn’t, so you move on,” Thun told Sam Carchidi. “That’s business.”
He later added, “If I was running the team, I’d sign Steve Mason, but of course I’m biased. They made a decision to sign Michal Neuvirth, which was their choice. I think it probably surprised a bunch of people, but, again, that’s the Flyers’ choice and we just have to react to that.”
Mason and Neuvirth have been the goaltending duo in Philadelphia for the past two seasons and it has produced a mixed bag of results. Two years ago they gave the Flyers a .917 save percentage that was in the top-eight of the entire NHL for a pretty cheap price against the salary cap. Together, they counted just $5.7 million against the salary cap, which was less than 15 individual starting goalies across the league made.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, both players regressed badly this season and once again left the team with a huge question mark in net. Their performance was a significant factor in the team falling short of the playoffs for the third time in the past five years. The Flyers still decided to re-sign Neuvirth to a two-year deal that will pay him $2.5 million per season. The Flyers also have 23-year-old Anthony Stolarz who appeared in seven games this past season, recording a .928 save percentage.
During Mason’s time with the Flyers he had a .918 save percentage, a massive change in performance from his final four seasons in Columbus when he was one of the NHL’s least productive goalies.