We’re less than 48 hours from free agency now and the goalie market is taking shape.
It’s become clear that the Philadelphia Flyers will not be bringing back Steve Mason. That was made all but official back during the final weekend of the season when Mason gave his farewell to Philadelphia and the fans, but it has been working toward being official over the last few weeks.
Sam Carchidi finally “broke” the news this afternoon that Mason would not be returning to Philadelphia.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) June 29, 2017
Steve Mason compiled a 104-78-36 record, with a 2.47 goals against average and .918 save percentage during his time with the Flyers over parts of five seasons. He was brought in from Columbus where it looked like his career was over late in the 2013 season and was given a shot with the Flyers.
Mason started out as a backup, or as a 1-B at best, and worked his way all the way up to, at times, a bonafide starting goalie. He nearly single-handedly beat the New York Rangers in the 2014 postseason, and put the team on his back for stints in the following seasons.
He had his shares of ups and downs over the five seasons in Philadelphia, but when it comes down to it he has the third most goalie wins in Flyers’ history, behind only the great Ron Hextall and Bernie Parent.
Steve Mason deserved better in Philadelphia, and he will be missed.
Now, with Mason officially gone, the Flyers need a tandem goalie to split time with Michal Neuvirth. And it looks like they may have found their man in Brian Elliott.
Elliotte Friedman reported on Tuesday afternoon that the Flyers looked like the early frontrunners for Elliott.
Early predictions are: Chad Johnson to Buffalo, Brian Elliott to Philadelphia, Steve Mason to Winnipeg, Ryan Miller to Anaheim, Antti Niemi to Pittsburgh, Anders Nilsson to Vancouver.
Elliott is 32 years old and, like Steve Mason, has had his ups and downs in his career. Last season he started 45 games for the Calgary Flames, posting a 2.55 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Before that he was mostly known as a St. Louis Blue. In five years with St. Louis he compiled an impressive .925 save percentage while going 104-46-16.
Elliott’s career numbers are around league average (2.42 goals against average, .913 save percentage), but he has seemed to work best when in a tandem role. His best seasons came when he started less than half of the 82 games. In 36 starts in 2011-12 he went 23-10-4 with a .940 save percentage, and in 38 starts in 2015-16 he went 23-8-6 with a .930 save percentage. He also went 9-9 with a .921 save percentage in the 2016 playoffs for the Blues.
The Flyers are looking for someone to bridge the gap to their prospects, and Elliott will likely be a cheaper option for two or three years. It’s not a fantastic solution or something to get excited about necessarily, but Elliot is a solid option to share the 82 starts with Michal Neuvirth.
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