Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason has been a steal since he suited up for the Flyers. If his outstanding play continues, he will become one of the highest-paid netminders in the National Hockey League.
Since the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, six top-tier goaltenders have signed lucrative contracts.
It is somewhat daunting too look at that list. Each of these players, except Tuukka Rask and Carey Price, have some kind of hardware in their trophy case*. Strange enough, Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner, has the least expensive cap hit out of the six goaltenders listed. The variance in these contracts makes it difficult to predict exactly what kind of contract the Flyers will offer Mason.
Paul Holmgren, the Flyers general manager, cannot begin negotiations with Mason until January, but Holmgren is in no hurry to start talking about an extension.
“At some point, we’ll touch base with Steve’s agent, but a lot of players don’t like to do anything during the season.” – via Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Anton Thun, Mason’s agent, thinks his client is in a similar spectrum with Price. This bodes well for the Flyers when both sides come together to negotiate an
extension. Mason has the upper hand, and if he continues his stellar play, he will hold most of the cards.
Through the first portion of the season, Mason has been the Flyers most valuable player. Without him, the Flyers would still be in the cellar of the Eastern Conference.
Mason’s 2.14 goals against average – 11th in the league - and .932 save percentage – 8th in the league – rank in the upper echelon of the N.H.L.
The way Mason has performed this year, and the way recent goaltender contracts have gone, Mason’s cap hit will be no more than $5 million. This will make for another interesting offseason in Philadelphia. When the 2014-15 season begins in the summer, the Flyers will have 11 contracts off the books.
The 2014-15 salary cap is projected to go up to $67.7 million, which could give the Flyers an extra $3.4 million to spend. Out of the eleven players up for free agency, Steve Downie, Brayden Schenn and Mason are the top priority. Downie’s and Schenn’s extensions will probably combine for $5 to $6 million in salary, which leaves some room for Mason’s contract. Holmgren may be forced to shed some salary to make room for more signings. Do not be surprised at all if Nicklas Grossmann is traded away for picks.
*Lundqvist: 2011-12 Vezina winner
*Crawford: 2012-13 William M. Jennings winner, 2013 Stanley Cup
*Bobrovsky: 2013 Vezina winner
*Quick: 2011-12 Conn Smythe, 2012 Stanley Cup