Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mason deal one of Holmgren's best

Flyers coach Craig Berube says he isn’t ready to anoint Steve Mason as his No. 1 goalie.

Mason deal one of Holmgren's best

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Steve Mason in action during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)
Steve Mason in action during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Flyers coach Craig Berube says he isn’t ready to anoint Steve Mason as his No. 1 goalie.

But his actions speak louder than his words.

Mason has started eight of the Flyers’ 10 games. Ray Emery has started the other two.

And, so, yes, it has become clear that Mason is the go-to goalie.

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Among NHL goalies who have played at least five games, Mason is eighth in the 30-team league with a .930 save percentage, and his 2.15 goals-against average places him ninth.

GM Paul Holmgren gets criticized for dealing promising goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who blossomed into the Vezina winner as the league’s best goalie last season with Columbus. Holmgren, however, made amends by acquiring the 6-foot-4, 217-pound Mason from Columbus late last season, dealing goalie Michael Leighton and a third-round draft pick in 2015.

So far, it looks like one of the best trades of the Holmgren era.

Granted, it’s not a huge sample, but in 15 games with the Flyers over the last two seasons, Mason has resembled the goalie who was named the NHL’s rookie of the year after the 2008-09 season.

Mason, 25,who can become a restricted free agent after the season, and the Flyers (3-7) will be severely challenged Tuesday when they face Anaheim (9-3) at the Wells Fargo Center. The Ducks are averaging 3.17 goals per game, the NHL’s seventh-best attack.

Both teams are aiming for their third straight wins.

Corey Perry (six goals, 13 points) ) and Ryan Getzlaf (five goals, 12 points) lead the Ducks, while defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Francois Beauchemin, are plus-11 and plus-10, respectively.

Defenseman Luca Sbisa, the Flyers’ No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, has not played for the Ducks this season because of an ankle injury. He was traded to Anaheim as part of the Chris Pronger deal.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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