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Steve Mason to skip World Championships, but he deserved Team Canada's job

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Steve Mason won't play for Team Canada in the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championships in May due to injury, but he absolutely deserved the job.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Mason deserves the starting gig on Team Canada at this spring's World Hockey Championships. I mean, look at the list of Canadian goalies who have played more than 20 games in the NHL this season.

Rk Player Team GP GS W L T/O GA SA SV SV%  GAA SO MIN
1 Carey Price MTL 61 58 41 15 5 115 1817 1702 0.937 1.88 9 3667
2 Devan Dubnyk ARI, MIN 53 49 35 11 3 104 1496 1392 0.930 2.05 6 3047
3 Steve Mason PHI 47 42 15 17 11 99 1356 1257 0.927 2.24 3 2646
4 Cam Talbot NYR 35 30 20 9 4 75 1017 942 0.926 2.21 5 2035
5 Corey Crawford CHI 53 51 31 17 5 119 1537 1418 0.923 2.31 2 3097
6 Braden Holtby WSH 67 62 37 19 9 143 1868 1725 0.923 2.21 8 3880
7 Marc-Andre Fleury PIT 59 57 33 17 8 131 1668 1537 0.921 2.26 9 3477
8 Roberto Luongo FLA 57 53 26 17 12 128 1624 1496 0.921 2.33 2 3290
9 Brian Elliott STL 43 41 24 13 3 86 1072 986 0.920 2.18 5 2366
10 Michael Hutchinson WPG 37 35 20 10 5 84 961 877 0.913 2.43 2 2078

Carey Price is without a doubt the best Canadian goalie in the world today, and that's shown as he's carried the Montreal Canadians all year and as he carried Canada to Olympic gold in Sochi last year.

But after Price, it's a lot less clear. Devan Dubnyk has had an unreal season, especially in the 34 games he's played so far for the Minnesota Wild. He has a .939 save percentage in those games! Crazy stuff from him.

But Dubnyk is going to the playoffs with the Wild (probably), as is just about everybody else on the list above. Cam Talbot, Corey Crawford, Braden Holtby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brian Elliott ... all are locks for the playoffs. Roberto Luongo has an outside shot with his Florida Panthers and Michael Hutchinson could be playoff-bound with the Winnipeg Jets as well.

Mason would be the clear cut No. 1 option for the Canadians in the tournament that begins May 1 in the Czech Republic. But ... no. He's not going, deciding instead to stay home and rest his ailing knee.

It sucks that after one of Mason's best seasons ever, injury will keep him from representing his country in one of the world's elite hockey tournaments. It's also a tournament that carries extra importance this year, as it will help determine seeding for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. But it's obvious that Mason's making the right decision by resting after a year that was up and down, to say the least, with injury woes.

Luongo seems like a fair bet for the tournament without Mason, but teams will be eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and that will give Team Canada more options as well.