As the halfway mark of the season draws closer, a few things seem very clear for the Philadelphia Flyers. For starters, though the offense has been producing as of late, it’s still very streaky. One game the orange and black will net five goals and then the next only score one. Next, the Flyers don’t have too stellar of a defense. You can’t put every ounce of blame on the goalies. The first way to stop goals from happening is by utilizing a good defense which is something Philadelphia lacks. However, the most noticeable thing that’s caught the attention of many through the first half of the season is the goaltending situation.
Steve Mason is clearly the answer in net for the Flyers right now. In fact, he’s the only answer the Flyers have. Without Mason, Philadelphia is toast.
Ray Emery is currently playing at an all-time worst. Both his save percentage (.885) and goals against average (3.23) are career lows. In the 12 games he’s played in this season, he’s given up four or more goals in five of those contests, four of which resulted in a loss. The truth is Emery probably couldn’t stop a basketball if it was being shot at him.
There isn’t much of a bright side with the Adirondack Phantoms organization either. Cal Heeter and Yann Danis are both posting pretty decent numbers between the pipes, but the head honchos in the Flyers front office don’t feel as if either are ready to be called up just yet.
So, with no hope in the current backup goalie and two kids in the minors who aren’t NHL ready, that leaves the Flyers with one choice: Rely on Mason — heavily.
This is not a situation any team want’s to be in. The Flyers know they can’t turn to Mason every single game, but he is the only reliable guy they have to protect the net. Mason has been posting solid numbers, but he’s not exactly making fans do back-flips. He’s been enough but nothing more. Mason rightfully deserves the credit he is getting. After all, he has had to put in a heavy workload this season and has come up big in some clutch moments, but the fact of the matter is that he’s average.
Flyers fans’ perception is altered because they see a guy who plays the best game in a group of guys that just flat out aren’t that good, hence why people rave about him. If you look at his numbers, they’re average. He’s in the middle of the pack for every major goaltending category, not the bottom tier, but not the top tier. He’s right in the middle.
Bashing isn’t what’s trying to be done here. Philadelphia fans should just realize that their goaltending situation isn’t as good as they think it is.