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NHL free agency: Steve Mason definitely gone, Flyers linked to Brian Elliott

Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth might be your Flyers goalies next season. Steve Mason certainly will not be.

2012 NHL All-Star Game - Player Media Availability Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet is one of the most plugged-in folks in hockey, and he’s made some predictions for the goaltending market once it opens at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.

Among those predictions, Friedman says he believes that Brian Elliott -- most recently of the Calgary Flames — will be coming to Philadelphia. He’d be in a tandem with Michal Neuvirth here, perhaps with a solid chance to gain the starting role.

Early predictions are: Chad Johnson to Buffalo, Brian Elliott to Philadelphia, Steve Mason to Winnipeg, Ryan Miller to Anaheim, Antti Niemi to Pittsburgh, Anders Nilsson to Vancouver.

Earlier today, Kurt discussed the possibility of Elliott coming to Philly, and it’s not even close to the worst-case scenario. Elliott has had a solid career before an extremely mediocre season in 2016-17 with Calgary, forcing the Flames to trade for Arizona’s Mike Smith.

Elliott’s late-blooming career arc is an interesting one, but this past season was his worst non-shortened NHL season (by save percentage) since 2010-11, and even this year he was just below-average rather than catastrophically bad. The track record since he got to St. Louis is fantastic — during his five seasons with the Blues, only Tuukka Rask and Carey Price had a higher save percentage among regular goalies.

You can debate whether or not those extremely good numbers may have been, at least in part, a product of a solid defensive system in St. Louis, but there’s a point at which the player has to be given some credit for his play, and Elliott’s performance was well beyond that point. Even if it’s maybe unfair to expect him to get back to that level of performance at this point in his career, a bounce-back from last season would not at all be surprising, and the floor here is probably still pretty high.

Meanwhile, you’ll also see Steve Mason on Friedman’s list, predicted to go to Winnipeg. We’ve seen the writing on the wall with Mase for a while now, and it’s been evident since at least the trade deadline that his future in Philadelphia would not be long. The final nail in that coffin seems to have been hammered in at this point, as the Inquirer is reporting that Mason is officially moving on from any talks with the Flyers.

None of this is shocking.

We don’t know exactly what happened between Mason and the Flyers, because we all know that objectively speaking he was the best goalie the Flyers have had during Ron Hextall’s time here. He wouldn’t have been expensive and he had a better year than Neuvirth last season, so it’s not even necessarily a performance issue.

Who knows what might have happened off the ice? We’ll just have to leave it all to the dust bin of Flyers history now.