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.
|2||Devan Dubnyk||ARI, MIN||53||49||35||11||3||104||1496||1392||0.930||2.05||6||3047|
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.
#Flyers goalie Steve Mason, asked about playing for Canada at world championships, said he'd like to rest his knee. CAN has other candidates— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) March 31, 2015
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.