Steve Mason Open to Re-signing With Flyers, But Doesn't Want Platoon Role

VOORHEES, N.J. – Steve Mason had his exit interview with Ron Hextall on Tuesday afternoon.

Hextall made no commitment on whether his goaltender will be back next fall.

"They are well aware of where I stand, they have to make their choice," Mason said at the team's breakup day at Skate Zone. "Hexy kinda left is as we're not closing the door. They have to figure some things out.

"Whatever those things are, I'm not aware of. I just told Hexy, 'do me the favor and make the decision as soon as possible,' because I have other things to take care of. A house and moving things.'"

Every previous indication from the Flyers was they are parting ways with Mason, who picked up his 200th career win against Columbus over the final weekend of the season.

Mason, however, made it fairly clear to the Flyers general manager that goalie platooning doesn't work and if coach Dave Hakstol wants to continue platooning, then he wants no part of coming back to the Flyers.

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Mason said how Hakstol used him at the end -- as the Flyers defined No. 1 -- saw him produce some of his best net play in his career. The season began as a platoon situation between Mason and Michal Neuvirth.

Over his final 17 starts, Mason was 10-5-2 with a 2.14 goals against average. 926 save percentage and two shutouts.

His first half was harmed by a left hand injury, which he admitted lingered into January and that he had a stretch of games where got worn down -- playing all through December right into the All-Star break -- before Neuvirth got the net and No. 1.

"Coming into the season, with Neuvy getting the nod as the No. 1 guy, then fine, you just need to have for both of our sakes, you need to have defined roles," Mason said.

In training camp, Hextall said that having Mason and Neuvirth was like having, two No. 1 goalies and it was a position of "strength" on the team. He said the mini-competition this season -- both were vying for contract renewals -- was flawed.

"Doesn't work," Mason said. "And it's shown throughout the league, it doesn't work. Tampa got rid of their situation. St. Louis got rid of their situation. It's got nothing to do with Neuvy and I as people. I got no issues with Neuvy. It doesn't work for the goaltending position."

Others would suggest it's a mental thing. Mason showed during his four seasons here that he's a better goalie when he's not looking over his shoulder and knows it's his net.

"It's not mentality, it's the way the position is played," Mason said. "You can't be in and out, in and out. You have to have the flow. I believe, given that flow, I've done well with it.

"Every, single team needs a defined starter and back-up goalie. Just having that clarity would have simplified it a lot. At the end of the season, having that clarity, the results showed."

Mason's insecurity about the rotation is likely something that the organization feels is a character weakness and goes to "mental strength" in overcoming such.

Mason said Hakstol agreed with him that once he found the "clarity" of knowing he was No. 1, things worked out better overall for the club.

Asked whether he sensed Hextall might be more flexible to the idea of eliminating a goalie platoon moving forward, Mason said the proof is there for Hextall to see.

"It's a better question for him," Mason said. "I don't believe it's an effective way. I don't think it would work out. I think he probably is [open to the idea]. He's seen the results this year. They weren't what we wanted or what we needed."

Mason said he never, "thought it would come down to this," on whether he would be re-signed. He said he envisioned, "a number of years here and not having to answer these questions.

"I was looking forward to being here a few more years," he said.

As for working with Anthony Stolarz at the end, Mason said he had a "great working relationship" and felt he had helped him this season.

"If there's a scenario next year where it's Stolie and myself, I would enjoy working with him," Mason said.

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