Steve Mason is 19-11-5 with a 2.48 GAA in his second season with the Flyers. (Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com)
Less than 24 hours after signing a new three-year extension with the Philadelphia Flyers then allowing four goals in an early exit from a game against the New York Islanders, Steve Mason was comical in his comments about the new deal.
"Well, we were shooting for Clayton Kershaw-type money," Mason said, "But that didn’t happen."
Clayton Kershaw, a pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, had just signed a $215 million megadeal. Mason and the Flyers reached a three-year, $12.3 million deal. It may not have been a megadeal, but it was a monumental deal for the Flyers, who appeared to find a fit at the goaltender position long-term.
"When we acquired him last year from Columbus, we viewed him as a good, young goalie that lost his way," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "I think he’s a good fit on our team."
The deal appears to be a win-win for the Flyers. After a gaffe with Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers grabbed Mason off the Columbus Blue Jackets for former goalie Michael Leighton and a third-round draft pick in 2015. Bryzgalov was bought out and replaced with Mason, who posted a 4-2-0 record with the Flyers in 2013 with a 1.90 GAA.
Mason started off this season strong as well, serving as the primary source of wins in the early going. Since then, he's proven to be human. However, the Flyers avoid taking a huge cap hit for their goalie as they've done in previous seasons. Mason's average cap hit is $4.1 million, 14th highest for goalies next season.
Holmgren talked about the timing of the deal and how it came to be.
"We talked about shorter than that. We talked about longer than that," Holmgren said. "Everything just matched up the way it matched up late [Friday] night."
Mason is just pleased to have the opportunity to start and to be regarded as a goalie with a future in Philadelphia.
"Hockey has been very good to me," Mason said. "And it has put me in this position. So I am very thankful. It is a lot of responsibility. I am just very proud to be a Philadelphia Flyer and being a part of this organization, with the sense of pride that comes along with the tradition and what the Flyers mean."
The Flyers have suffered from a goalie crisis of sorts, having to juggle goalies left and right for years. Mason solves that problem for now, and at least won't have to worry about his future when taking the ice.
"I am just happy that it is out of the way and that I won’t think about it anymore," Mason said. "I am really looking forward to just being here for the next number of years and trying to get this team in a position where we can make a long run and eventually realize our goal of winning the Stanley Cup."
Kevin Durso is the lead beat writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.