Do you folks remember NHL goaltender Steve Mason?
That’s right. He’s the guy that burst onto the NHL scene in 2008-09 with the Columbus Blue Jackets and was outstanding between the pipes.
That season, Mason, 30, had one of those magical years whenever everything seems easy and everything goes right. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year, was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender, and finished the year with a 33-20-7 record, a 2.29 GAA, a .916 save percentage and four shutouts. Oh yeah, he was also the first goalie Blue Jackets history to get the team into the postseason.
Mason Also had some success with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was solid in 2013-14 when he finished the year with a 33-18-7 record to go along with a 2.50 GAA, a .917 save percentage and five shutouts.
That same season, he managed to help get his team to the playoffs and came one win short in falling to the New York Rangers in the first round. Mason was outstanding in that series as he went 2-2 with a 1.97 GAA and a .939 save percentage.
Unfortunately for Mason, things changed for him greatly last season. In July of 2017, he signed a two-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets worth $8.3 million. That deal turned out to be awful for both sides as Mason missed a lot of time due to injury and when he did play, he stunk as he went 5-6-1 with a 3.24 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
Fast forward to now and he does not have a job with any team as training camp is right around the corner. In Late June, the Jets traded Mason to the Montreal Canadiens, but minutes after acquiring him, they sent him to waivers in order to buy out his contract, but not one NHL club has taken a flyer on him.
This is actually very hard to believe. Mason is just 30-years-old and has proven that he can be a quality goaltender in this league.
Sure, he has had some struggles and yes, he has an injury history, but maybe what he needs is a fresh start. There might be those out there that are worried about his injury history an whether or not he is ready to play, which are definitely valid points. With that said, Mason deserves a shot somewhere.
Things happen to goaltenders all the time in the NHL. Injuries, confidence issues, bad slumps, etc. All Mason needs is either one or all of those things to strike an NHL club to get an opportunity to get a new gig.
Here’s hoping Mason not only regains his once fine form between the pipes but that a team gives him a chance to prove that he can still play at a high level in this league.