Until this summer, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason spent most of his off-seasons playing as a forward in an Ontario ball hockey league and working out on the ice with a group of friends who play professionally in the National Hockey League and other circuits. Coming off a statistical career year in 2014-15 and having played well for the Flyers on a consistent basis ever since his arrival late in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, no one would have faulted Mason if he took an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to his 2015 off-season.
Mason, however, was not satisfied with last season. Despite his outstanding personal statistics, the team missed the playoffs due primarily to an atrocious road record and sub-par penalty killing. From an individual standpoint, the season saw its share of frustration and injury.
Last summer, Mason sustained a broken right pinky finger in a ball hockey game. While not a serious injury, the injury to a finger on his glove hand temporarily set back his pre-camp preparation timetable. Mason got off to a slow start in October, although the summertime injury was not a significant cause. On a much more concerning note, Mason missed significant time in the middle of the season due to back spasms and a nagging knee problem that eventually required an in-season arthroscopic meniscectomy to remove 60 percent of the meniscus in his right knee.
Mason, who appeared in 61 games for the Flyers during the 2013-14 season before being limited by the knee issue to 51 games last season, set a goal to be physically ready to play 60-plus games even with the team's free agent acquisition of 1B starter-quality backup Michal Neuvirth in July. He also set a personal goal to have the strongest training camp and preseason of his professional career to date.