The original title I was working with was ‚ÄúHalak Traded; City of Montreal Bursts Into Flames,‚Äù but a) that title wouldn‚Äôt reflect the main point of this article and b) who cares about Montreal? On one level, this just means that neither Jaroslav Halak nor Carey Price will be wearing the orange and black come October, and the list of potential starting goaltenders for the Flyers gets trimmed down. On another level, this opens the door for Blues goaltender Chris Mason to step in.
The list of restricted and unrestricted free agent goaltenders on the market this summer is staggering, but there are few who can provide stable, reliable goaltending at a cap-friendly salary.
‚Ä¢ Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose Sharks): 2.43 GAA, 0.922 PCT, $4 – 6 mil cap hit
‚Ä¢ Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins): 2.56 GAA, 0.915 PCT, 3-year, $5 mil cap hit
‚Ä¢ Jose Theodore (Washington Capitals): 2.81 GAA, 0.911 PCT, $3 ‚Äì 5 mil cap hit
‚Ä¢ Marty Turco (Dallas Stars): 2.72 GAA, 0.913 PCT, $3 ‚Äì 5 mil cap hit
The remaining goaltenders are either serviceable backups, former Flyers (Biron and Nittymaki) or Michael Leighton. Dan Ellis (Nashville Predators) is a possibility and will be reasonably priced, but has yet to prove himself to be a starter.
Chris Mason was drafted by New Jersey in 1995 and served in a backup role until the lockout. At 34, he‚Äôs been a starter for the last four years and posted a 2.53 GAA and 0.913 PCT. His reported asking price to remain a Blue this season was $3.75 million for three years, but after this trade, his asking price will likely drop. Marty Biron‚Äôs agent put the Flyers in a very similar situation last year, and he barely scraped together a one-year, $1.4 million contract with the Islanders (less than we signed Emery for!).
The positives of signing Chris Mason:
‚Ä¢ NHL ready goaltender
‚Ä¢ May be reasonably priced at $3 – $3.25 mil cap hit
‚Ä¢ Will not require trading any valuable players
The negative side to Chris Mason is that while a solid goaltender, he has a propensity to give up softies at crucial times. Sound familiar?