The Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in an interesting situation with their goaltenders heading into the season as both Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth are eligible for unrestricted free agency following 2016-17. Despite that, GM Ron Hextall has no plans to negotiate a new deal with either netminder at this time, reports Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. When asked what the plan is, Hextall noted that there isn’t one in place at the moment:
“They’re both very good goalies. They both proved it last year. They both should be in their prime/entering their prime. We’re excited about both of them and essentially don’t have a fixed plan moving forward. We’re just going to play this season and see how things go.”
Mason is entering his fifth season with the team and will earn $4.1MM this year. He has been Philadelphia’s #1 goalie for each of the last three seasons, playing at least 51 games in each. He posted a 23-19-10 record last season with a 2.51 GAA and a .918 SV% but struggled in the playoffs, going 0-3 with a 4.09 GAA and just a .852 SV%.
As for Neuvirth, he’s heading into his second year with the Flyers on a much cheaper deal, one that carries a $1.75MM salary and a $1.625MM cap hit for 2016-17. Towards the back half of last season, he started to earn more starts, eventually finishing with 32 appearances with a better GAA (2.27) and SV% (.924) than Mason. He also put up three fantastic starts in the postseason, going 2-1 with a 0.67 GAA and a .981 SV% against Washington after taking over from Mason mid-series. If he has a repeat season, he should be in line for a nice raise.
In the system, the Flyers have a pair of quality youngsters in Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon but neither are ready to take on a #1 load in the NHL as soon as 2017-18. As a result, it would seem likely that Hextall will look to eventually seek a new deal with at least one of Mason or Neuvirth unless he wants to try his luck next offseason with a UFA market that could feature Ben Bishop, Ryan Miller, and Brian Elliott, among others.