Latest on the Flyers and Sabres – April 6, 2017

by | Apr 6, 2017 | Rumors | 17 comments

Will the Philadelphia Flyers part ways this summer with Steve Mason?

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason and Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis face uncertain futures. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio reports the biggest offseason issue facing Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall is his goaltending. The fact he re-signed oft-injured Michal Neuvirth to a bargain contract over Steve Mason means nothing.

Mason is a UFA coming off a $4.1 million per season deal who, like Neuvirth, failed to play up to expectations. His overall numbers (25 wins, 2.67 goals-against average, .908 save percentage) weren’t good enough to help the Flyers reach the playoffs. However, in his final 16 games, he went 9-5-2 with a 2.15 GAA and .933 SP.  

Given Mason’s inconsistency, Panaccio suggests he could be a risky re-signing even at a discounted rate. His recent criticism of his club’s play also has some of his teammates grumbling. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised to see Mason back with the Flyers next season. Neuvirth was at least affordable and can be exposed in the expansion draft. However, I don’t think he’s good enough to become a reliable full-time starter. Same goes for Mason. Goaltending’s been the Flyers’ weakness for far too long. Hextall must address the issue this summer.  

Options via free agency include Los Angeles’ Ben Bishop and Chicago’s Scott Darling. Trade targets could include the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta and Washington’s Philipp Grubauer. 

Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury could also be an option. Given the intense rivalry between the two clubs, however, landing him is likely a long shot. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis acknowledged last night’s home game against the Montreal Canadiens could be his last with the Sabres. “Anybody can get traded and there’s a new team coming in,” Ennis said, referring to the Vegas Golden Knights. “There’s so many different things.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ennis recently surfaced as a possible trade or expansion-draft candidate in the rumor mill. With two seasons remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $4.6 million, the Sabres could try moving him to free up cap room to bolster their blueline.

When healthy, the 27-year-old Ennis is an effective scoring forward, with three seasons of 20-plus goals and 40-or-more points. Over the last two seasons, however, he’s been sidelined for lengthy periods by injuries.

Combined with his cap hit, Ennis could prove difficult to move and not a very tempting option for the Golden Knights. 


  1. The irony with Flyers goaltending is Hextall himself is probably the last great goalie they had. The Flyers never seem to get this position right, do they? This has to be frustrating for this organization. The most interesting player brought up today though is MAF. It will be interesting to see where he ends up. Could you imagine if somehow a deal was made that sent MAF to Philly?!

    • MAF i would doubt he approves a trade to philly. Im not sure but if he waived his ntc to go somewhere and then that team turns around and sends him to philly if the ntc would be in effect. Or would it become void. Also still to early to speculate on where these players will end up should turn out to be an interesting June and July.

      • Oh I agree JAG far too early to even think of where players will end up. It’s fun to speculate though. MAF is an interesting case because he still has a lot to give another franchise, yet has had times in his career where his performance has been suspect. I am not sure his reputation is fair as to be honest Pittsburgh has not always put outstanding defense in front of him. I like Fluery, I think he is fun to watch and is a character guy. A lot of talk about him going to Dallas. I think any goalie should be wary of that scenario as Niemi and Lehtonen have been left exposed by a very porous defence at times. I wonder if he would be a good fit in Winnipeg? If they clean up their defensive game, they have the players to do it, and their discipline he could do well there while Hellyebuck rounds into form, which he hasn’t done yet. Who knows?!

    • You’re absolutely right. I don’t understand how Philly can consistently screw up this position for so long. I’d argue Roman Cechmanek was also a good goalie for them (yes there were some issues) but only during the regular season.

      Throwing massive money at Ilya Bryzgalov, and giving away Sergei Brobovsky as a result of that.
      Anointing starting roles to goalies like Martin Biron, Michael Leighton, Ray Emery and Brian Boucher. It’s mindboggling.

      • I can see MAF going to the Flyers for a couple of years. Why not if Crosby and Giroux can get along anything is possible. I know MAF has kids enrolled in school in the Pittsburgh area so it would make sense that he stay somewhat close so as not to uproot them. If the Pens can get Mason back in the deal and sign him for 2 mill or less that would be ideal and give them a goalie to expose to LV. Mason could be demoted to WBS and Jarry brought up without losing much salary cap. I think the new rivalry between the Flyers and the Pens has yet to be established and will likely involve the Flyers young d corps vs the Pens young forwards. If Pittsburgh could find a top 6 centre of the future somehow in the next few years they should be able to remain competitive without a full rebuild.

  2. Took the words out of my mouth. I was going to also mention Bernie Parent and Pelle Lindbergh.

  3. Remember the name Carter Hart. Flyer have at least four high end NHL goalie prospects and Hart is the best of the bunch. Hextall smart not to do what flyers GMs of the past have done ..throw big money at overrated veterans ..for once a flyers GM that has drafted quantity AND quality at the position.

    • Carter Hart should be the next great Flyers goalie.
      I’ve seen him a few times live and he’s got the goods.
      Great draft choice.

    • Exactly. Somebody who finally sees the big picture. Hart is the Flyers starting goalie in 2 years.

      Neuvirth gets signed to ca club friendly deal to be exposed as draft fodder to LV. If LV grabs him, mason or another waiver wire goalie is signed for one year to compete with Stolarz for the starting job next year. If Neuvirth is not claimed by LV, he and Sotlarz battle for the top spot until hart is ready.

      Either way, the Flyers are not trading for an older, expensive goalie as they are set at Goalie and Dmen for years to come.

      Everybody is Philly knows this except for the beat writers whom Hextall would have to spell it out for.

      • Disagree on some of that LJ14.
        It is a tad early to be projecting Hart as their starting goalie in 2 years. He is 18 and playing junior.
        More like 5 years from now, and there are zero guarantees he becomes the answer. Which is probably why Hextall has drafted a few. Tender is the toughest position to project forward.
        Philly’s current forward core of Giroux (29), Voracek (27) and Simmonds (28) are in their prime right now. Makes sense not to waste 2 – 4 years with another sub par goaltender(s).
        They have talented young D coming up the pipeline. It makes sense to protect them with a reliable proven goaltender.
        Mason’s $4.1 leaves the books after this season. MAF makes $5.7M, which PIT may retain some of as it is a soft market at the position and they HAVE to move him before expansion.
        Makes perfect sense to me for Philly.
        The roadblocks that others brought up of MAF wanting to go there and PIT willing to trade with an arch rival could throw a wrench into any deal.

      • Thankyou Raybark. Starting goalie at age 20? Not likely.

  4. Hey Bob,
    No I am not aware of Philly’s goalie prospects. But if they are deep in that regard history must have taught them something. If anybody should be aware of this it should be Hextall!

  5. The Flyers will not be signing any “big name” goaltender and the only way they trade for one ie MAF is if Pittsburg takes Andrew McDonald back so lets bury that rumor too.
    One of the Flyers strengths right now is their goalie pool
    Carter Hart
    Alex Lyon
    Anthony Stolarz
    Merrick Madsen
    Felix Sandstrom
    Matej Tomek
    They may sign a experienced goalie for a short term 1-2 year to mentor their young guys but in no way do they go for a Bishop, Darling, MAF, etc,etc,
    so lets stop the rhetoric.

    • Hopefully the flyers hit on one of them. My money is on Hart or Sandstom.
      For Hart-he is back in Junior next year,and I would say a minimum 2 years at LV in the AHL

  6. Lyle,

    You really think the Flyers are going to invest long term in a goalie that “might” be the answer?

    Their cupboard is pretty stacked. They need a two yr goalie at most to bridge the gap.

    Not many teams have goalie prospects like this coming up..

    Carter Hart
    Felix Sandstrom
    Merrick Madsen

    • Having a stacked cupboard is one thing. Having one of those goalies develop into a proven, reliable starter is another. Better to invest in someone for a few years who has at least proven they can reliably play at the NHL level than in someone who has potential but has yet to prove themselves. It could take four, five, or maybe six years for those goalies you listed to fully establish themselves. Point is, the Flyers have gone far too longer with inconsistent goaltending. They must address that now.

  7. I agree 100 % with Ray …the core is too old Not to sign a high quality starter …as many have said it will take too long to develop one 5 yrs minimum … by the the core will be gone …if Hart is a true big league starter then Hextall would be better off blowing up his core for decent blue chippers that can grow with the team …it is a hard thing to do however someone like Bishop on a 4 yr deal would make sense however I am sure his asking dollars would cause Cap problems …dollar wise I think MAF is the best option for the Flyers however those 2 teams will have a hard time making a deal …I am a born and bred Edmontonian and a fan since 74 ..with that being said if the Oil and the Flames can make a trade ( actually happened twice ) then ANYONE can make a trade