The Philadelphia Flyers took a chance when they traded for Steve Mason last year. Today, it sounds like the Flyers have liked what they've seen from Mason in 43 games with the club over the last two seasons. The 25-year-old goaltender has signed an extension with the club, the Flyers announced today. According Elliotte Friedman of CBC, Mason's contract is a three-year deal is worth $12.3 million for an annual average of $4.1 million.
Mason has posted a 19-11-5 record so far this season with a .917 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average. It's the best numbers Mason has put up since his standout rookie season with the Columbus Blue Jackets for which he won the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2008-09.
The Flyers got some incredible performances out of Mason earlier in the season, but failed to do much with them. The last two months, however, the goaltender has cooled off considerably. Over 17 games since the start of December, Mason has posted an .895 save percentage. So he's currently trending downward.
After that sparkling freshman campaign, Mason has struggled in the league. His career .906 save percentage hardly breeds a lot of confidence going forward. That said, Mason is still only 25, which means he still has some room for growth, but extending him in season in a gamble and the Flyers have had some terrible luck with goalies in recent years.
The Flyers gave Mason a “show-me” contract in the offseason with a one-year $1.5 million deal. It was a good, cheap gamble on making him a No. 1 this year and it's mostly paid off for the Flyers. After enduring a dreadful start where they simply couldn't score, Philly has crawled back into the playoff hunt in the tight Metropolitan Division.
There's still plenty of risk in any kind of extension. Mason only has four games of playoff experience and that didn't go real well for him. On top of that, his 43 games with the club have been up and down. As a restricted free agent, it's surprising the Flyers would rush to sign him without seeing how he deals with the stretch run.
It's a rather large monetary commitment, whether the salary cap is going up or not, to a goaltender with a career .906 save percentage and another questionable gamble by general manager Paul Holmgren.