GoaltendingIrresponsible RumormongeringOffseason

The Rangers should sign Steve Mason

Overall, goaltending is an organizational strength for the Rangers.  Obviously, they have Henrik Lundqvist at the NHL level, and Igor Shestyorkin waiting to make his North American debut as the presumed heir apparent. Alexandar Georgiev made significant strides last season in his NHL debut, plus high ceiling prospects Adam Huska and Tyler Wall in the system.  Chris Nell, Brandon Halverson and Olof Klefbom have become something of after thoughts, besides all being decent prospects in their own right.  Don’t forget Marek Mazanec as AHL depth.

Despite all this, I am here this morning to advocate that the Rangers sign Steve Mason to back up Henrik Lundqvist this season.  In case you missed it in the shuffle, Mason was traded by the Jets to Montreal in a salary dump trade.  Winnipeg was hoping to clear cap space to make a run at re-signing Paul Stasny and they attached Joel Armia to Mason’s contract to clear the $4.1 million he was scheduled to make this season.  Turned out, Stastny went to Vegas and Montreal had no plans for Mason themselves, so they bought the former Flyer and Blue Jacket out, making him a UFA.

For what it’s worth, I’m perfectly comfortable going into the season with Georgiev penciled in as the backup, but let’s talk out the reasons why Mason makes sense for the Rangers:

He should come cheap

When the free agent carousel stopped spinning on July 2, Mason was still left standing.  Most teams have their goaltending situations sorted out by this point and if you are still unsigned in August, it’s usually PTO time.

I’m actually a little surprised that he hasn’t found his way to Europe at this point.  I would throw a $1 million offer his way and see if he bites.  If he wants to continue his NHL career, it might be his best opportunity.

Benoit Allaire could work wonders on him

Much more so than Ondrej Pavelec, Mason is the type of talent foundation tailor-made for Benoit Allaire.  Despite being 30 (just as Pavelec was), Mason has already adopted a more modern playing style and technical foundation.  He was able to find his game in Philly despite being on a very mediocre roster. I think that Allaire could help potentially resurrect his career and give the Rangers someone who could actually get Henrik Lundqvist off his feet for more than 25 starts.

He could be a mid-season trade trip

Now, we all know that goalie’s don’t fetch much in trades, but it’s not inconceivable to grab a 2nd rounder at the deadline from a team in need of insurance between the pipes.  A cheap upfront investment + some Allaire magic = additional rebuild asset at the deadline.  If it doesn’t work out, just cut him loose and I’m sure he would like to move on to Europe.  Low risk asset management at work, right there.

It’s best for Georgiev’s development

Most knowledgable minds agree that Shestyorkin is more than likely going to be the Rangers next long-term starting goaltender.  However, development doesn’t necessarily always work out the way we would like it to. Shestyorkin could have difficulty stateside and need a season in the AHL to get his feet wet.  He could decide that he likes playing in Russia better. Who knows? Either way, Georgiev has shown the tools and composure to develop him as someone who could potentially start.

While Georgiev had a solid NHL debut, he had a good but not great season in the AHL (37gp, 2.98 GAA and .906 sv%).  Granted, the AHL team was a tire fire, but he didn’t exactly dominate the level.  I think you run the risk of stunting his development playing him 20 games at the NHL level in his age 22 season.  I’d rather see him get 50 games in the AHL, with a steady backup in Mazanec to help him manage a true starter’s workload. Mason would give the Rangers the ability to stay the course with Georgiev’s development.

Zombie Rangers

Lastly, and this is important.  Steve Mason always has masks that depict his teammates as zombies.  I know that I personally need to see zombie Henrik Lundqvist and definitely zombie Mats Zuccarello.  These are not non-factors.

All kidding aside, I think the Rangers would benefit from the addition of Mason and vice versa. What do you all think?


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  • Let’s spend our money where it is needed – a scoring winger. We have young defensmen and goalies. Get some veteran goal scorer.

  • All great points Justin.

    For me, it all depends on what Benny A. believes best for Georgiev’s development.
    If Allaire feels Georgie boy would benefit from net minding the Pack rather than facing NHL opponents next season, then I think the signing of Mason is the smart move.
    We are blessed with one of, if not THE best goalie coach in the League, I hope JG does nothing other than listen to what Allaire has to say on the issue.

  • Interesting thoughts but I say resist urge. Georgie is promising and clearly benefited from working with Allaire. No reason not to continue. It’s in keeping with rebuild and goal #1 -player development.

  • Georgiev was good but still unproven, but by the same token, my question is, what do the Rangers expect to accomplish this coming year?

    Honestly, to make moves that puts them in the middle of the pack in the NHL is the worst possible scenario. If you want to “go young” then go young.

    If the Rangers were a playoff team then by all means, this makes the most sense. But to bring on Mason to win 5-10 more games that only ruins the Rangers’ draft pick is useless. Not to mention that we will find out about Georgiev.

    Georgiev is not a long-term Ranger. If he plays well then he’s a trade chip as it will be Hank and Shesty after this coming year, and then Shesty going forward. If he bombs, at least they will find out about that too.

    I am in no way advocating a tank job this season, but let’s be realistic about our expectations for this coming year.

    • Tony

      Your post makes too much sense………

      When Mason came up he played very well for a few years with the Bluejackets, but went south from there. Like some others on this site today, I say go with Georgie, and let him prove what he can do, while increasing his trade value down the road, and or use him for the expansion draft. As for the tank, with Hughes coming up next year, it wouldn’t be the worst case if we play poorly for one season, while developing the KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Walt,

        I do not mind a season where the focus is on development, both individually and as a team. Development in skill, character, and a winning ATTITUDE. Let this team GROW together.

        I never want an “intentional tank” ala Pittsburg. One aspect we want to develop is a winning attitude. As a competitor, I want to watch my team play hard every night.

        Mark my words, all the nay sayers on this Board aside. Keep your eye on Lias Andersson. We fans are ‘gonna’ love him. He wants to win. Not content to just play, what’s most important to him is winning. That kind of attitude is contagious in a team.

        This will be one heck of a training camp!

        • Howden is going to push Lias either to play top 6 minutes down in Hartford or down the depth charts on the Rangers roster. When people have to start acting like he’s going to want the puck more than your average hockey player than I know the hype for him will be weak. If he plays that kind of game than he might become injury prone, he already has a busted up shoulder. I don’t think he is going to be anymore tenacious on the forecheck than Jesper Fast. Chytil is miles ahead of him in being NHL top 9 ready. I see hype in Lias because of the draft pick number. His main role will be as a checking center with PK ability.

          • Sometimes the majority of votes are trying to tell you something.

            I like nachos in spite of how many doctors who tell me not eat them. Liking/reality/what’s good for the team will come to light soon enough once camp starts.

      • Walt, unfortunately I see the Rangers in the middle of the pack, so the Rangers would need a “Carolina” type move up in the draft just to get in the top 3.

        I think that the top pick is an extreme long shot, if not impossibility. I don’t think the Rangers will be as bad as some fans might think, but making the playoffs will be tough. So I think middle of the pack, maybe bottom third.

  • I wouldn’t sign Steve Mason now for this reason Georgiev played well for us and if we are in a rebuild lets continue what we are doing and then if we feel we need mason then sign him

  • All hail Benny! Whatever he says, goes, in this situation.

    If he wants Steve, it’s no risk. If he doesn’t, there’s no point.

  • “He could be a mid-season trade trip”

    we are re-building, we can afford a 1 year deal, it could return something good mid year!

    Pull the trigger!

    • This rationale has about a 1% chance of coming to fruition, even if we signed Mason. How often has a backup goalie been traded for something meaningful at the trade deadline; to a team looking to shore up their goaltending and make a run in the playoffs. And that assumes Mason plays well. Is Mason going to lead to team to the Cup – fat chance.

      Stay the course with Georgie!

      • well, I just think if mason is playing week at mid year, maybe even had to (God forbid) play more for hank and shined, perhaps a team would be in real need and wee could grab something meaningful…

        the cost is nothing and as for G, he may be better in AHL, up to BA in the end

  • The Rangers are rebuilding their Blueline. Having experience, reliable goaltending is important while the young defensemen gain some confidence.

  • Mason’s biggest problem is inconsistency, and his career trajectory suggests he’ll be a risky choice as a backup. He’s played his way out of slumps before as a starter but there’s no way to do that if he’s getting one out of every 7-8 starts. Mason could go into a Biron-like tailspin and lose all confidence, and become worthless pretty quickly.

    • Then you cut Mason, with minimal cap consequences, and call Georgiev back to the Rangers.

      Even if Mason is terrible in his 10-15 starts in the first half, Georgiev would still have another half season of AHL games under his belt in this scenario.

      I don’t really see the downside here.

  • We tried 22 year old Georgiev last year and he succeeded well beyond expectations. Was good and reliable. What sense does it make to replace him with a 30 year old veteran with an erratic resume, at 4 or 5 times the cost, while in rebuild/player development mode.

  • Why do we need Steve Mason. Everything in the article points to no need for another goalie who is not the future of this team.

  • A little “inside” info…..I am in an awesome Senior bowling league with Rob O’Gara’s Grand pop in East Meadow lanes. Rob has been busting his tail all summer in Ma. He has added weight and at 6’4″, was told by Ranger management to be very physical in training camp. I had the pleasure of meeting Rob in May and he is a awesome young man, like most of our Rangers, I hope he makes the team, but it will be tough!!! Go Robie!!!

  • Georgiev should play 30 games minimum this season. It’s time to stop letting Lundqvist dictate how many starts he makes. He needs to step aside and allow the kid some experience to grow. And it wouldn’t hurt not to overwork Henrik. Everyone wants to see the kids play and mature as fwd’s and D-men, why not the same thought process in goal?

    • This is what the Hank Haters don’t seem to understand, the Rangers’ best chance to win any game, still after all this time, is with him in nets.

      If I were to predict the future, this coming year it is Hank and Georgiev, where Georgiev gets 20+ games, and Hank and Shesty the following year, where Shesty and Hank basically split the season.

  • Agree supermaz! Won’t Shesty need competition and a backup? If he needs a year in the AHL that means Georgiev gets 2 seasons as Hanks backup (this and next). What happens if Shesty needs a year in the NHL to acclimate? That means the Georgiev could be here for 3 years. Before giving ANYONE a job on the ice, not ignoring the stats or contractual dollars, lets see some wins and losses and not trade names about like corn futures.

  • Let Georgiev play. Backup goalie is currently the least of our problems, To me, we still need to do something with Spooner and Hayes. I also would like to see the Travers City roster (play in September) as guys like Ville Meskanen and Michael Lindqvist should be given a fair shot to make this team out of camp.

  • You find out what you have in Georgie. Let him work with Bennie all year and get his 20 plus games. If he develops it’s a win for the Rangers because he can be traded for assets. There’s no point in winning this up coming season. It’s about the new coaches seeing what they have. More importantly players develop especially the young players. See Jack Hughes.

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