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It’s time for the Steve Mason experience to end in Columbus

Nov 4, 2011, 10:32 AM EDT

Steve Mason Getty Images

It seems like forever ago that Steve Mason posted 10 shutouts in a season and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. That was just the 2008-2009 season though and since then it’s been a slow decline for Mason in Columbus.

Going from a rookie year that saw him put up a goals against average of 2.25 to becoming a guy with a GAA over 3.00 is a terrifying change of pace for the Blue Jackets and with the team doing miserably once again, it’s time for the Blue Jackets to start looking around for alternatives for their starting goalie.

Yes, the Blue Jackets foolishly gave Mason a huge contract after his big year and it’s a contract that’s got one more year left on it after this one at $2.9 million. That doesn’t mean the Jackets have to stop snooping around, however. A major issue for Columbus now is they have no one to challenge Mason.

Backup goalie Mark Dekanich has been hurt since preseason and top AHL option Curtis Sanford is also banged up leaving fresh out of college rookie Allen York, formerly at RPI, to be the backup. Banking on your fourth stringer to help be your safety net is dangerous living.

Without anyone to seriously push Mason or even take the job away from him for the time being, Columbus is stuck in a bad way. If they’re unable to do anything about it, it’s an issue that could linger through til next season whether coach Scott Arniel or GM Scott Howson are there to see it through or not. Figuring things out in goal could go a long way to fixing things in Ohio.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    He needs to be moved. I don’t see him as being Raycroft 2.0 unless Columbus decides to hang on to him. He’s not yet an elite goalie but on a better team he would not look as bad as he has. A change of scenery would probably helpp his confidence. Tampa Bay maybe?

    • danphipps01 - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      The problem is, he’s pretty much a backup. He’s not ready yet. Tuuka Rask came out and blew up NHL RECORDS for rookie goalie performance and he’s now the backup to Tim Thomas – and when Tim retires, Rask will be a legitimate replacement because of the years he’s had to grow without the pressure of starting sixty-plus games. Mason never got that chance. A shitty team with impulsive, naive management threw him into the “save the franchise” role and tried to make big waves quickly and it nuked his development as a player. It’s very, very easy to break a goaltender if you run his development wrong. There’s a reason most stay backups until their mid-to-late twenties, and that’s because they really need that time to grow.

      Mason may never get back on track now, but he’s still young and if he spends a few years backing up someone better on another team (preferably one with actual defensemen), he may still become a legitimate quality starer by thirty. You never know. What we CAN safely say at this point, though, is that he will not become a good goalie starting for the Jackets. That needs to change, now, for both their sakes.

  2. bcisleman - Nov 4, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    The Jackets have two problems. They need to trade Mason and they need a viable #1 goalie as well. An option might be two trades: Mason to TBL for a F and Prospal to NYI for Nabby

  3. balewsquare - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Slow decline?

  4. muttbolts - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    No, not to tampa.we dont need him but would take prospal back though.

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