This may be old news by now, but Michael Leighton is no longer the Philadelphia Flyers‘ backup goaltender. And a lot Flyers fans are happy about that.
Prior to the trade deadline on Wednesday afternoon, the Flyers made one subtle deal. Unfortunately it was not for a big defenseman to balance out the blueline. Instead the Flyers opted for getting a backup goaltender. They gave Michael Leighton and a 2015 third-round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for backup goaltender Steve Mason.
The preferred trade would have been if the Flyers could have re-acquired goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the Blue Jackets, but the cost to re-acquire him was too high. The Flyers really pulled the trigger too early on Bobrovsky by trading him instead of trying to develop him more. Especially since he is .927 and has won 12 out of the 26 games he has played in.
So while we miss Bob, Flyers fans need to see how this trade is going to affect the team. Some reports are rolling in that Ilya Bryzgalov may be on the outs with Mason now suiting up for the Flyers. Paul Holmgren also didn’t help alleviate this fear when he said: “We see him [Mason]as one of our two goalies, this year and moving forward.” This could have been misconstrued to sound like Bryzgalov’s job is on the line.
Although Mason’s .899 percentage is better than Leighton’s, I highly doubt he’ll become the starter over Bryzgalov. He was definitely brought in to help relieve the starting goalie, which is something the team really needs. There is also some cause for worry since Mason has only played 13 games this season and only won three of those.
It was rumored that Mason was going to get the start in Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it has since been reported that Bryzgalov once again will get the start.
Flyers fans are going to have to take the trade day by day and judge Mason by how he plays. When Bobrovsky first came to the team, no one knew who he was and he ended up becoming a fan favorite. Who’s to say that Mason isn’t as successful? We’ll have to wait and see.