The Phladelphia Flyers announced today that they have signed impending RFA goaltender Steve Mason to a three year, $12.3 ($4.1M/AAV) contract extension. The reaction has been mixed among Flyers fans. Here are the positives and negatives of the deal.
Holmgren learned from the ‘Bryzaster’ of 2011-2013. Signing a goalie to a long-term contract is almost always bad news. This deal is only three years long. If Mason turns out to be a bust, the mistake will be short lived. Also, in three years, both Anthony Stolarz and Cal Heeter should be more established. The Flyers will have a better idea of where they stand in 2017 and can start fresh if necessary. Giroux will still be in his prime.
The negotiations are over. Think back to the beginning of this season. Henrik Lundqvist was playing poorly. However, after he signed his contract extension and his play stepped up again, his sub-par play was blamed on the ongoing contract negotiations that were taking place. Obviously Mason’s agent has been negotiating with Holmgren for a little while. Who is to say that the same problem is not what caused Mason’s recent dip? He will now be free from that distraction and confident in his place on the roster.
Even though it is in the middle of the pack, the $4.1M number is higher than many Flyers fans are willing to swallow. Mason will be the 14th highest paid goaltender in the league. Although the cap is going up next season, that amount alone is more than the Flyers spent this year on both of their goalies. The term of the deal, three years, is great, but considering his recent play, the money may be a little high.
Mason is still an unproven goaltender. He won a Clader Trophy, but has never regained that form for a full season. He played very well in a limited sampling of games at the end of last season and was the Flyers MVP for the first month or two of this season. However, it is unknown as to whether those time periods were an anomoly or if that is the real Mason. Only time will tell.
Personally, I like this deal. I am willing to give Mason a pass for the past few weeks due to the ongoing negotiations and the awful play of the defense. Mason is still only 25 (only 6 months older than Heeter) and will be 28 when this deal is over. I’m confident Mason is getting ready to enter his prime and will make the Flyers happy about this deal. With all of that said, he needs to prove himself for the remainder of this season.