What To Do With Mason?

Three years ago, a popular discussion in NHL circles was a debate about rookie goaltenders: if you started a franchise, would you rather have Steve Mason of the Blue Jackets or Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators as your building block?

It’s no longer much of a debate.

While Rinne’s steady play and the steady play around him has turned Nashville into a perennial playoff club, Mason has bottomed out with some of the worst statistics in the league, and the Blue Jackets haven’t come close to making the post-season. As a result, Mason’s future – not only with the Blue Jackets, but as a viable NHL goaltender – have come into question.

“You start to worry about him now becoming the next Andrew Raycroft or the next Jim Carey,” said one NHL goaltending coach, referring to the two unfortunate examples of how award-winning goalies can fall apart and quickly drift away from the NHL.

“You wonder if he just needs to get out of (Columbus), maybe play for a better team in a different situation, that maybe he’d get it back together again. He definitely needs a change of scenery. But even then you wonder if he ever gets back to where he was.”

Mason, who began shutting off reporters toward the end of this season, declined to be interviewed for this story. Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson agreed to talk, but would not let goaltending coach Ian Clark be interviewed. This is a dicey topic inside Nationwide Arena, as the club mulls its next step with Mason.

The Blue Jackets could trade Mason, but it won’t be easy to find a taker for his $3.2 million salary next season. They could put Mason on waivers and hope he gets claimed by another club. Or, if he clears waivers, the Jackets could send him to the minor leagues.


40 Responses to What To Do With Mason?

  1. reinjosh says:

    I wonder if Joe Pavelski is available. The Sharks need a shakeup or a change. Pavelski's been a good soldier but maybe its time to move on. He could bring some good value back in a trade and really help the team get deeper. He's good but he come's from the deepest position on the team. With Couture and Thornton, maybe he's the piece they move. 

    Would you go after him? He's defensively responsible or at least appears to be (could be protected behind Thornton). He's also adept in the PK. He's not exactly large but at 200 pounds he can hold his own. What do people think of acquiring him?
  2. leafmeister says:

    I would get Pavelski for sure. He is a great player at a great price. I would put him as a 2nd line centre; trade Grabo for the best deal, and then work on acquiring a top six centre with size. So I guess yes, but as an improvement  for Grabovski's spot, not as that #1 centre spot. 

  3. LeafsFTW17 says:

    I would take a chance on Mason because everyone knows the type of goalie he can be.  

    Not saying he will be the goalie he was in his rookie season but there still is a chance that he could be as good or even better than he was in his rookie season.

    There are still many rumors on the leafs still having lots of interest in Nash and if they take back Mason they wouldn't have to give up as much to acquire Nash in the trade.

    Idk but maybe a deal involving Reimer,Kadri,Franson +++ could get both Nash and Mason, assuming the leafs get Luongo or someone.

  4. leafmeister says:

    The Kings will play the Flyers in the Finals. Very dramatic.

  5. thisgamewelose says:

    I get that the big picture here is Nash, but unless you plan on going after another goalie, would you really trade Reimer to bring back Mason? I couldn't make that trade if I was intoxicated. 

  6. Steven_Leafs says:

    I am so hoping for that, and then I want the Kings to win the cup as a big F.U. to Philadelphia for trading Carter and Richards. Such an exciting series that would be.

  7. Boston_Bruins says:

    Pavelski is probably the last player I'd trade if I was San Jose IMO. He's on too good of a contract and is probably their most proven clutch performer. He's also very well rounded and versatile. If he is available, I'd jump all over that.

  8. LeafsFTW17 says:

    Read the last sentance 😉

  9. Boston_Bruins says:

    Before the 2nd round started I was thinking St. Louis vs. Washington, but it definitely looks that way now. The Kings are now just finally living up to their preseason hype. I'm not as confident in Philadelphia with that abysmal goaltending they're getting, but they have to be the favourites. It's either them or Washington IMO.

  10. TheLeafNation91 says:

    If the Capitals survive NYR…

    That means they took out Chara and Girardi/McDonagh. You really can't face teams that much harder than that.

    They're playing sound playoff hockey. Watch out.

  11. Boston_Bruins says:

    I posted an article about this, but haven't seen it posted. What are people's way-too-early Team Canada predictions for 2014?

    M. Richards-Toews-Bergeron
    Taxi Squad: Seguin, O'Reilly, Myers, M. Staal
  12. Boston_Bruins says:

    Washington themselves are a really hard team to play against with that system they have going there. Hunter has done a 180 with that team. They really remind me of the 09/10 Canadiens, except they have a few offensive gamechangers they can go to to complement that suffocating defensive style they play.

  13. Boston_Bruins says:

    The US is looking scary too.

    van Riemsdyk
    Shattenkirk-E. Johnson
    J. Johnson
    Taxi Squad: Wheeler, Kreider, Byfuglien, Bogosian
    It's like a never-ending supply of two-way forwards and power forwards.
  14. leafmeister says:

    When looking at that team, you gotta wonder how much Canada's star power even matters against such a well built roster. 

    Kesler, Backes, Brown, Callahan all on the same team. Not even fair. 
    The 1st line is a little small, but still very potent. 
  15. leafmeister says:

    When looking at that team, you gotta wonder how much Canada's star power even matters against such a well built roster. 

    Kesler, Backes, Brown, Callahan all on the same team. Not even fair. 
    The 1st line is a little small, but still very potent. 
  16. 93killer93 says:


    **Definitely some Leaf bias there with Phaneuf
    I think it's going to be very hard to pick that team.  By the time the Olympics come young guys like RNH, Hall, Seguin, Subban and I think even perhaps Ryan Murray could establish themselves in the league. 
  17. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yeah, really. Looking at those forwards, Kane and Kessel are really the only ones who don't have a solid defensive reputation, but they're also their best offensive players. You can mix them up I guess though. That's definitely a team that can roll all four lines and grind you down.

  18. NonLeafFansAreGay says:

    Whatever the teams, it'll probably be another Canada – USA final, with Canada giving the US an ass whooping in overtime.

  19. Boston_Bruins says:

    I'm surprised we only have three players that are different with so much talent to choose from.

  20. Boston_Bruins says:

    *4 players. I took Eric Staal, not Jordan.

  21. 93killer93 says:

    I think that's a good group for all situations. You have the powerplay offensive guys, and the penalty killers.  I really want to see Lucic make it. I think we're going to need a guy like him going up against the US. Although i would probably only bring one of Lucic or Benn, and then bring a guy like Hall. I think if Nash goes to a new team and performs then you have to give him serious consideration.  Canada is going to be really good for a very long time.  

  22. TimTheBone says:

    Mason is a step sideways at best, to reimer

  23. TimTheBone says:

    As far as I'm concerned if you're doing a "way too early" list than you HAVE to go on how players are right NOW…. That being said… Nash is in no way left off this roster… In two years I also don't see him being left off… To me theres no chance in hell You can even consider leaving Nash off unless he's injured… Moving On:

    Stamkos Crosby Eberle
    E.Staal Tavares Giroux
    Carter Getzlaf Perry
    Nash Toews Richards (Too good a line at the 2010 games, going to get another look from management)

    Green Weber
    Doughty Keith
    Pietrangelo Letang
    Coburn M.Staal


    There is no More taxi Squad so I won't call these guys by that term….

    But others to get serious consideration or in case there are injuries before the roster is locked in, they can be fill-ins…

    Seguin, Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Skinner, Kane, Couture, Couturier, Morrow, Iginla, Heatley, Bergeron = Forwards

    Seabrook, Myers, Subban, Burns, Boumeester, Phaneuf = Defense

    Bernier, Mason, Fleury, Elliot = Goalies

    This is what I believe will be The Best team we can ice if everyone is Healthy. The other listed are also very good "contingency" options and will all get some sort of consideration. Not to mention the kids coming up from this years and the next years draft class whoever may rise to an occasion.

    I Love the idea of Eberle Stamkos and Crosby on one line… It's a sickening thought of what damage they may be able to do. The Toews line is a sick shutdown line. If Getzlaf seems to be dragging ass J.Staal could easily and effectively slide into his spot at center.

    Green Weber Letang as weapons on the PP is scary, while Staal Keith and Coburn provide strong defensive play. Pietrangelo Doughty could become a key set a defenders in all situations.

    I think Price is the Clear #1 goalie for Team Canada at this point with Luongo perhaps taking a role similar to Brodeur in the 2010 games a passing of the torch if you will. Ward and Fleury are rather interchangable as the Third Goalie.

  24. thisgamewelose says:

    For US, I would put  Max Pacioretty over Oshie. 

  25. leafmeister says:

    They also have a clear cut advantage in goal. I would take Quick, Schneider and Miller over any Canadian goalie, except maybe Price. 

  26. SabresFan220 says:

    Pavelski isn't likely to be moved, Marleau is the most likely candidate I think. Sure, he has a NTC which can make any deal difficult. He'd actually have to want to go to Toronto, haha. Not to mention the asking price won't just be Schenn and Lombardi or something. I always find it funny when Leafs fans propose deals where they acquire a good player for a collection of players they don't want anymore.

  27. LeafsFTW17 says:




    I also agree with thr first line, would be dangerous.  Eberle is a must have for Canada.

    I have Seguin on the team and in the top 6 because not only is he going to be a ppg player by then, he will also be very strong in his own end, which he already is.

    Bergeron made the team for me because of his faceoff ability and his strength in his own end.

    Iginla is there for the leadership and IMO Iginla will still be good enough to make the team because of his physical shape he is in.

    I have basically the same D pairings as you except I swapped out Burns for Phaneuf and have Girardi instead of Seabrook.
    I'm not switching Burns for Phaneuf just because I am a leaf fan, it is simply because  I think Phaneuf is better in both ends.

    Girardi is too good of a shut down D man to not have on the roster, I'd try to play with 7 D men in the games against more talented teams like Russia.  Girardi being a right hand shot though will have to sit out for the games where they don't go with 7 defenceman, just becuse of the other right handed shots they have ahead of him.

    Goalies for me were pretty easy to pick.  They will in my mind be the top three Canadian goalies in 2014.

    Players I didn't include who could make a surprise are Hall,Skinner,E/JStaal,Myers,Subban,L/BSchenn,Nash,BRichards,Murray,RNH,Kane,Mackinnon,Del Zotto,Coburn,Reimer,Bernier,Luongo,Spezza,Neal,Lupul,Couture,Sharp,Getzlaf,Fowler.

  28. TimTheBone says:

    I'm sorry bud but I think your Leafs Bias is affecting your thoughts on player consideration…. Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to pick on the leafs, I just Don't believe Reimer or Luke Schenn or Lupul even get a look…..I'm not so sure Brayden even gets a look.. or Sharp even…. The point is that there is so much talent for canada to choose from that alot of guys won't get that kind of consideration…..

    Phaneuf will, although I think Coburn beats him out….

    I'm not so sure Bergeron makes it either, He looked weak and out of place in 2010 and was relegated to the 13th man…. guys like J.Staal could more than fill his role…

    Giardi is an interesting pick, I like it… Never thought of him, but thats very interesting…

    I Love Iginla, my favorite player but I think he steps aside for 2014… Let's the younger crew play for him… He's a classy guy like that..

    And I'm not too keen on Benn… I think that spot could be filled by others much better…. for instance… RICK NASH…

    I'm sorry but I feel very bad that people are leaving this guy off their rosters…. #1. He will be there. #2 He's been such a clutch Canadian his whole INT'L career (not Eberle Clutch)…. and He's just not a guy you leave off unless he's injured… I'm extremely surprised that people are leaving him off…. It blows my mind… The guy is a stud…

    If i'm not mistaken, I believe the team can dress all 7 D-men for every game along with 13 forwards… its a 22 man line-up i believe….So Giardi would always be on the bench ready to go…

    annnd my last point…. Fowler is an american now… Dual citizenship yes, but he has chosen to represent the US in international play

  29. thisgamewelose says:

    Staal will be more deserving than Phaneuf.

  30. LeafsFTW17 says:

    lol it wasn't leaf bias I was just tossing out names who could potentially be great players in a couple years.  At that age, two years can be a lifetime of a difference especially for goalies and d men.  But I am 95% sure neither will make it.
    You just never know what could happen in 2 years, that's my point.

    And i didn't know that about Fowler, thanks for catching that.

  31. Boston_Bruins says:

    Yep. USA looks great in net and Canada is declining big time with producing quality goalies. And we'll see where Thomas is at in two years as well.

  32. Boston_Bruins says:

    I think for Looch to make it you almost have to have it on smaller ice for him to be more effective than some of the more skilled players who can take advantage on the bigger ice surface.

  33. Boston_Bruins says:

    Green? And on the first pairing as well? I'm really confused by that one.

    I've always thought of Nash as a bit overrated, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him make the team at all.
    I agree that Stamkos-Crosby-Eberle is a must though. I also think a Tavares-Giroux connection could be deadly, with someone to do the dirty work on the left side like Benn.
  34. Boston_Bruins says:

    "I'm not so sure Bergeron makes it either, He looked weak and out of place in 2010 and was relegated to the 13th man…. guys like J.Staal could more than fill his role…"

    He was injured in the first game which really affected his game (pulled his groin I think) and sat out the first few games when back in Boston. He was relegated to faceoff duty because of it. I know it sounds biased as I'm a Bruins fan, but he's probably the most consistent player I've ever seen, and easily one of the most well-rounded players in the NHL. Watching all the Bruins games, he has maybe a handful of sub-par games a year, and even then he never really costs the team. The only area I like J. Staal over Bergeron is goal scoring.
  35. TimTheBone says:

    My D pairings listed arent what i'd like to see…. that was just a basic list as i remembered names…

    I'll pair em up for ya….

    Weber Letang
    Keith Doughty
    Pietrangelo Coburn
    Green Staal

    Although this was at a time when i thought we brought 8 D to the tourny… but if its only seven than Staal gets the nod for me… green is left out

  36. TimTheBone says:

    I absolutely agree about the "2 years" thing… but at this time you can't speculate when making a list such as this…. you have to go based on the "what have you done for me lately" mantra… I mean hell, Brendan Gaunce could make the jump straight away, have an insane first two years in the league and bust himself onto the team…. EXTREMELY UNLIKELY but like you said you never know what 2 years can bring…. my point is you don't know what the future holds and you can't create a team based on future thoughts of where players may progress…. my roster is based on if a team was named tomorrow … who would be on it,…. yeah sure Schenn could play his way into consideration but he's been regressing since his rookie year hype and doesnt seem to be showing he can play better than let's say another 12/13 D-men surely likely to get a look before him…..

    thats my reasoning

  37. TimTheBone says:

    hey don't get me wrong, it's no slight on Bergeron… I think he's a very consistent and fantastic player for the bruins… but I feel as though there would be better choices to be made…

    Staal as a bigger player plays stronger on the puck and imo wins battles more….slighty less faceoff percentage but not by much… I like Staal better on the PK…. both fine players short-handed but I like Staal

  38. Boston_Bruins says:

    Winning battles and strength on the puck is what Bergeron is most known for and arguably his greatest strength, along with boards play (which go hand in hand, really). I don't watch Staal as much, but I find it hard to believe he'd be better than Bergeron in this regard. PK ability is close,but Staal might get the better of him there with his reach, especially on 5 on 3's, but I don't think it offsets the rest. Also, this was the first year Staal was not at least a couple percent below 50% on faceoffs, and he was 51% this year. Bergeron is consistently among the best and was over 8% better than Staal this year. That's a massive difference.

  39. LeafsFTW17 says:

    But the Olympics are in two years, not right now.

  40. frankinboltonleafs says:

    Caps are lookin' like the Caps of old with this marathon overtime tonight.

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