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Flyers GM still thinks Steve Mason has ‘tremendous upside’

Apr 3, 2013, 8:39 PM EDT

Steve Mason AP

The Philadelphia Flyers didn’t do a ton on the trade deadline, but they at least filled their quota of making trades with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This time it was for failed franchise goalie Steve Mason.

If you’re an extreme optimist, you might wedge “former Calder Trophy winner” in that description instead. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren’s comments to NHL.com indicate that he ranks among the glass half-full types.

“We like Steve as a young goalie,” Holmgren said. “We still think there’s tremendous upside there. We’ll bring him in and work with him and try to help him achieve his goals of becoming a better goalie as well.”

At 24, he does at least make some sense as a reclamation project. Some thinks he can be more than that, too; during the first intermission of Wednesday’s Night Game, Mike Milbury floated the idea that Mason could be getting an audition to take Ilya Bryzgalov‘s job.

Before anything that drastic happens, Mason needs to show that he was more than a flash in the pan. If what Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com is true, proving himself might just get Mason a job beyond this season.

  1. govtminion - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    He’d have to have upside at this point- I don’t see how he could head any further downhill from where he’s been. :/

  2. flyeredup - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Holmgren has killed all,Flyer momentum. Bobrovsky, Carter, Richards, JVR………FIRE Holmgren!

    • DonkeyStick - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      Bobrovsky too early to see, Carter was a no show in playoffs, Richards is a decent player but not worthy of the “C” and JVR was always hurt! Now look what he got in return……#10, #14,#17#93 and they needed a D man after Pronger so he got #22 for an overrated, always hurt, and in my opinion BUST in JVR.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        93 and 17 are the only guys worth their salt outside of giroux on the whole team. they need carter and jvr’s goals right now but the real knife in the back is bobrovsky playing lights out. side note…prust is owning rinaldo again tonight…beats him down for like the 4th time then scores in his face…love it…these guys need to play in the same division again, so much fun to watch

      • stakex - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        And for all that, they are heading strait to the first tee when the playoffs start.

        Its hard to argue they are a better team now, then if they had kept some of those guys.

      • jkaplan11 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      • hockeyfan28 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        @jpelle82 5-3 flyers before you kick dirt on the flyers casket might wanna make sure their actually dead

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      Stop with the JVR swan song. Have you seen him play in the last 2 weeks? He has disappeared. JVR has always shown signs of brilliance followed with times of irrelevance.

    • chrisvegas - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      The Flyers problem is and has been for 20+ years is the organization’s refusal to draft and develop their own goaltenders. Had the Flyers invested just a little in goal-tending they would have beat Chicago in 2010 cup. Leighton literally cost them the cup as they outplayed Chicago for the majority of that series. The Flyers then go get Bobrosky who they lucked into and don’t let him start in the playoffs despite him having a really good season. They then go out and get the nightmare that is Mr. Universe, throwing money at the position as if that is the way to deal with it. The Flyers don’t make the right moves when it comes to goaltending and it keeps haunting them. They need to trade for Jonathan Bernier this offseason and invest the heavy price as far as draft picks that it will cost to get this kid. Mason is a complete waste of resources. Richards and Carter were never the problem, it was ALWAYS goaltending. If they had a goalie in 2010 they would have beat Chicago, no doubt in my mind.

    • ryanrockzzz - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:24 AM

      yea, and you were probably one of the ones who was all about getting rid of them after they couldn’t produce a Cup while they were here. Hindsight is always 20/20, the only questionable move to me has been the JVR for Schenn, that move seemed bad at the time it was made also.

  3. uscthom78 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Only an eternal optimist would think this move was a holmgrun.

  4. cameltoews - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    I’m not flyer fan but how can you say Richards didnt deserve the “c”. He is a heart and soul player who does everything a team needs to win. You are just saying JVR is a bust because you are sour he is killing it with the maple leafs. The flyer organization didnt give him a chance and now you are paying for it.

    • dmfc1112 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      I liked Richards as a Flyer but there is no denying he took alot of nights off. As for Carter, I couldn’t wait till he was traded. He was the exact opposite of clutch. Now JVR was a bust as a Flyer. I think that was the classic case of a guy needing a fresh start. Keep in mind he was the #2 overall pick.

    • DonkeyStick - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:19 PM

      Because you’re not a Flyers fan is why you believe he deserved the “c”. He is a role player and has ZERO pressure playing in LA, not being a star, and without the “c”.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      The Flyers gave JVR plenty of opportunities to succeed. JVR played himself off the top line with his unbelievable inconsistency. I’ve never seen such a talented player disappear so much. He’d be unstoppable for 3 games then follow it up with 15 where you didn’t even know he was on the team. And plenty of ppl want to say Toronto robbed us but Schenn has been a stalwart on an ever shifting blueline. JVR has been great this season but I think it’s hard to measure the value of Schenn. It’s much easier to just look at the goals and say the Leafs got a steal, but where would the Flyers be without Schenn? I mean no Pronger (obviously), no Coburn, and no Mez. But the bottom line is JVRs play didn’t give Homer much of a choice, especially considering his jump in cap hit and the Flyers weakness on the blueline.

  5. stakex - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Anyone see Bryzgalov duck under the puck as it floated into the net tonight? I sure bet Holmgren did… and you can’t honestly expect Bryzgalov to hang around as the Flyers goalie much longer with such play. If he can’t be traded, he’ll be bought out.

    Now I don’t know if Mason is the solution. He had one decent year, but since hes been pretty consistently terrible. His play hasn’t even been up and down, its just been down. So I doubt he will be Bryzgalov’s replacement next year unless he pulls a 180… but rest assured, Bryzgalov WILL have a replacement next year.

    • jpelle82 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      you can bet mason plays the next game

      • stakex - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:09 PM

        Absolutely, and if he plays well… it might be a while before Bryzgalov plays again.

    • coronakid76 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      We, as an organization, just have too many holes at every position. We have no offensive depth after the top 2 lines, the D is inconsistent and immobile, goaltending has been an issue as long as i’ve been alive. I think Homer definitely gave up on Bobs too early…There aren’t many goalies who out of the gate are exceptional (Fleury bounced between NHL/AHL for 3 years I think). That position tends to take longer to mature and realize potential. But then again it’s like a domino effect! The goalie get’s lit up cause there is no D, the D get’s lit up cause the 2 way play of the forwards isn’t great. The offense isn’t great cause we have no offensive depth. We have no depth cause Management traded it all away for quick fixes!! I think we just need to unload and completely rebuild around the core (Giroux, Vorachek, Simmonds, Couts, L. / B. Shenn, Ollie, Gustafsson, Mcginn)…..

  6. jimw81 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    at this point, holmgren makes me want to vomit everything he says or do. He’s delusional and Ed Snider let him destory this team for years to come.

  7. crazemastercraze - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Philly is the east coast version of the Calgary Flames: they keep trying to paint their world as sunshine and lolly pops while everyone out side the bubble can see the ship in flames and sinking into the depths of the sea. I wonder if the pen Schnider uses to write the checks to buy out Bryzgolov and Talbot will snap in half when he signs them…

    • dmfc1112 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      Talbot? what are you smoking?

      • hockeyfan28 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        Yeh the flyers have missed the playoffs once in 18 years might be stretch to call em Calgary
        let these kids develop might not be their year this year but the future is bright and they had a terrific
        draft Laughton,Stolarz, and Gotisbehre all look like nice prospects

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      This is an absurd comparison. The Flames are absolutely devoid of young talent outside of Baertschi. The Flyers have a young core of forwards that few can match. Giroux, Read, Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, Couturier, and even the likes of Rinaldo and McGinn. Calgary has nothing close to that group. People have been calling for a rebuild in Calgary for the past 3+ seasons, while the Flyers have been to a Stanley Cup and have been consistent playoff participants.

  8. jacketsfan7 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Philly is the last place I’d send mason to. They kill there goalies like the browns and New York jets kill quarterbacks!

  9. President Charles Logan - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Max Talbot has been a really good Flyer actually, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

  10. icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Mason fares. Still would rather have the Flyers address the goaltending through the draft. I know they have in the past but they need to figure out a different formula in regards to evaluating possible draftees.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:18 PM

      Well apparently Stolarz is tearing it up with London. He’s been one of the top goalies in juniors. He’s 6’5″ with impressive athleticism. It looks like the Flyers finally picked a keeper. Now he probably won’t be in the NHL for another 3 years but I think they have their goalie of the future.

      • coronakid76 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

        And before he plays for the Flyers they will trade him for a Dman on the downside of his career in order to make a playoff push.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        I think Holmgren has learned a lot from the unsuccessful trades of Bob Clarke. So I don’t think there’s any chance Stolarz gets traded anytime before he’s in the NHL, and probably not then. I think he’s the clear cut goalie of the future. I mean they essentially gave up Bobrovsky for him, and Holmgren seems to have learned his lesson. When was the last time Homer mortgaged the future for an aging vet? For all the crap Homer gets about the typical Flyers trading youth for experience there really haven’t been any trades like that since Holmgren took over after the dreadful 06-07 season. The Pronger trade is the ONLY time he’s done that, and it was a homerun up until Pronger got seriously injured. He’s refused to give up BSchenn or Couturier for anything, including Shea Weber or Keith Yandle (yesterday). I think he’ll reconsider trading Couturier in the offseason because he’s the key to getting a young, top-2 defenseman. And I think that’s probably the right move considering all the bad luck they’ve had on the backend. But the bottom line is that Stolarz isn’t going anywhere. He’s been compared to Pekka Rinne and Holmgren knows now what he lost in Bob.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Apr 4, 2013 at 6:29 PM

        I’ve heard the same. We shall see. He may be. He may not.

  11. eagles512 - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    The Philly media gets on certain guys and the fans follow along. Richards was a gamer and while Carter was quiet during a couple playoffs, he was also hurt for some of them. And he sure looked clutch last year. Having said that, those 2 trades were not bad trades.

    • chrisvegas - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      Philly doesn’t know what a good goalie is anymore.

  12. chrisvegas - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Ya and we are supposed to trust Holmgren’s opinion when he has been so wrong with leighton and Bryz. Mason sucks.

  13. mclovinhockey - Apr 4, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Bob- good goalie for about 30 games a year like he played in Russia after that fatigue sets in and he is average.
    Carter good goal scorer but coots and Ace was a very big win for Philly in the trade
    Richards, great player, hard worker, schenn and simmonds for him is another win for Philly in the trade market
    Jvr- Philly could not afford the cap hit and the guy was injured often, we had to move him

  14. flyers89 - Apr 4, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    I seriously get so blown the F away by some comments on here haha. Trades are suppose to benefit both parties involved. The big trades some of my fellow flyers fans are talking/complaining about were just that. Yes it stings to see Richards and Carter hoist the cup but the return in youth with much more affordable contracts was worth it. JVR for Schenn was a win/win for both clubs. Bobs needed playing time and he wasn’t going to get it here right now so we trade him and replace him with a prospect that will be ready 3-4 years down the road, another OK move. The biggest mistake and the reason Paul needs to be canned is the Bryz contract … you sold off the win now players for a potential brighter future but bring in a high dollar scrub. A mistake of that caliber would get almost any other GM fired, but not in Philly because we enjoy the blue collar shoot our selves in the foot lifestyle way too much. If Paul is smart he’ll clean his hands of Bryz and develop a goaltender with this young core and hope he doesn’t get thrown out before they become a competitive team.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Apr 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      I agree about everything you said but I think the writing is on the wall for Bryz. Two of the goals he gave up last night cannot sit well with management. I mean you can’t duck when the puck is coming at you, it’s your job to stop the puck. And that isn’t the first time he’s done that. I know it’s human nature to move your head when something that fast is coming at you, but he chose the Goaltending position as a career path and that’s inexcusable. Bryz has been better this season but you cannot be a good goalie when you’re paid to be great. Luckily the lockout afforded us two buyouts, and I think if they can’t trade Briere (for a 7th rd pick or something) then he and Bryz are out the door. They’re two of the biggest contracts with two of the smallest returns. And with the cap dropping by $6 mil it’s really one of the few options they have. They seem to really like Mason, idk why, but that’s another reason Bryz may be gone. And Stolarz has garnered comparisons to Pekka Rinne so he’s cleary the goalie of the future. I’d love to see them trade for Bernier but I think the price will be too high. So I expect a stopgap option to replace Bryz until Stolarz is NHL-ready.

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