It was only four seasons ago that a young Steve Mason took home the Calder Trophy, after winning 33 games and leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to the playoffs in this rookie season. The 24-year-old netminder has never been able to match the success of his rookie season, and things don’t appear to be getting better for him anytime soon.
Mason has appeared in four games this season, and has an 0-3 record with a 2.97 GAA. Offseason acquisition Sergei Bobrovsky has thrived in Columbus, and is 2-2-1 with an identical GAA. Bobrovsky seems to be playing with a confidence that Mason has lost, and has taken over as the team’s top goaltender. Set to be a resticted free agent at the end of the season, there is an ever-increasing chance that Mason doesn’t fit into the Blue Jackets’ plans as they continue to rebuild.
Last season may have been Mason’s last chance to stake his claim on the starter’s job, as the Blue Jackets looked to him for 46 appearances. He responded with just 16 wins, and a GAA of 3.39 – and that was WITH Rick Nash still on the team. Curtis Sanford, Allen York and Shawn Hunwick also saw action between the pipes last season. Playing goalie in Columbus has never been easy, but Mason managed respectable records in 2009-10 (20 wins, five shutouts) and 2010-11 (24 wins, three shutouts). The wheels fell off last season, and if Bobrovsky continues to perform well, it may be best for Mason to look for a fresh start elsewhere at season’s end.