DeNicola's Dekes: Adam Hall, Jay Rosehill and Steve Mason >
 
 

by Michael DeNicola


Wednesday, April 03, 2013 --



The NHL's 3:00pm EST trade deadline came and went today without the Flyers making any radical deals -- aka, moving Sean Couturier and/or Brayden Schenn for that 'big splash' defenseman we're all so eagerly salivating for like a junkyard dog on a meaty bone. 


Of course, there were plenty of rumors. Sources had put out that GM Paul Holmgren was speaking to the Phoenix Coyotes over the offensive blue liner Keith Yandle. Others spoke of the Flyers kicking the tires on Florida's young, mobile defenseman Dmitri Kulikov -- a personal favorite of mine for many reasons, mainly because he's a younger, bigger Kimmo Timonen. Then on Tuesday evening, there were reports from Darren Dreger on NHL Tonight about the Avalanche's powerhouse  blue liner Erik Johnson possibly being available for "the right price."


Yet nothing. Nothing major. 


Instead, our Philadelphia Flyers picked up LW Adam Hall off waivers today. Hall was a Tampa Bay Lightning just a month ago. He was thrown on waivers, picked up by Carolina, played a short stint with the 'Canes, was sold BACK to Tampa where he was then thrown BACK on waivers less than 24-hours ago.


Adam's been bumped back and forth so much that Kenny Lofton fired an email to him with a telephone number to a support group. 


After Max Talbot suffered a broken leg in Sunday's victory versus the Washington Capitals, a wide open hole had been left open on the penalty-killing team. Hall is a 6'3" 206lbs forward who spends most of his NHL minutes skating on the bottom two line combinations. There he's served as a grinder, as well as defending the man advantage. Adam is no more than a Max Talbot replacement (on a poor man's level), and expectations from Flyers fans shouldn't reach any higher than "meh". 


Still, the 32-year old skater comes with an affordable $650,000 cap hit and will be just another role player. His Corsi ratings are atrocious, but I'll say this..... in 5-on-5 situations, Hall has started a whopping 85.4 per cent of his shifts in the defensive zone, and finishes them in the scoring end almost 50 per cent of the time (42.2%). That margin is quite significant. Nevertheless, he's a grunt. A body to put in front of the puck. No more, no less. Moving along....



If I may rewind back to Monday -- the Anaheim Ducks and our Flyers struck a BLOCKBUSTER trade after announcing that our speedy winger Harold Zolnierczyk was dealt straight up for the 27-year old Jay Rosehill.


Rosehill is a 6'3" 215lbs waste of roster space, but for some reason, Flyers fans are excited to have him because he's a "very good fighter." See, after Giroux's been knocked around a few times the last couple weeks, our management believed we needed another Jody Shelley (who is currently sidelined on IR with injury, and is missed as much as the bird flu). Jay fits this "need" fittingly.


Jay hasn't played a single NHL game for the Ducks, instead he's spent this entire year skating with their AHL affiliate; very promising. You may remember Rosehill from a couple seasons ago when he glided on the Toronto Maple Leafs fifth forward line...... Yes, fifth. The kid's so worthless, his on-ice time doesn't even amount to a fourth liner's. 




What Rosehill lacks in offense, he adds in size, snarl and fisticuffs. He shan't be reporting to the Phantoms. He's already reported to the Big Club, and is slated to get his start against his former team, the Leafs, this Thursday evening. Honestly, I'm surprised I made it this far writing about him. 



Now on to the bread and butter of this article (which isn't saying much) -- Today our Broad Street Bullies acquired the 24-year old netminder Steve Mason from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Apparently we've become closer patronage partners with the Jackets than Batman & Robin. 


Nevertheless, the Flyers shipped off goaltender Michael Leighton and a 3rd round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Mason is skating on the final season of his 2-year, $5.8-million contract ($2.9m AAV), and is due for an extension which I imagine the Flyers will be happy to hand him. 


I actually dig this trade. A lot. 


For one, Michael Leighton is a 31-year old journeyman who's subpar between the pipes. Bryzgalov hasn't gotten a night off since 'Gangnam Style' was somewhat relevant, and Leighton's inadequacy is half the reason why. Good riddance. 


Mason, on the other hand, is a young, big goaltender (6'4") with solid speed. He moves well laterally, and has a good eye on the puck. I know his stats may tell a different tale, but I find it hard to pass final judgement on a young goalie who's spent his entire career on an abysmal Blue Jackets team (minus this season, of course). 


Despite the lousy recent years, Mason kicked off his 2009 rookie season by winning the Calder Trophy after depositing a 33-20-7 record with a 2.29 GAA, .916 save-percentage, and 10-shutouts in 61 games.


In his 5-year career, Steve sports a .903 save-percentage and 2.90 goals-against average. Unfortunately for him, Sergei Bobrovsky beat him out of a starting position this year, but the kid's got plenty of upside.


There's that word..... "upside". Why is that so important? Since the acquisition, beat writers and hockey reporters have been throwing around a thought that this almost certainly means the Flyers will be using a compliance buyout on Ilya Bryzgalov this off-season. 


Already I can feel some of you pulling away. Lemme reel you back in...


By no means is anyone implying that Steve Mason, formerly a backup goalie in Columbus, is all of a sudden going to become the Philadelphia Flyers future #1 goaltender. Just because he's been traded for, does not mean Bryzgalov is an automatic outta-towner. However, it does deserve the question.


I don't want to shift the focus on Bryzgalov too much, so I'll lay a quick thought right here; the 2013 Ilya Bryzgalov is NOT the problem. We know this. He's played sharply between the pipes, and, statistically speaking, Bryz has been the reason why the Flyers have won all the games they have. 


It's the 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 Ilya Bryzgalov that's the problem. As it gets closer to the salary cap's ceiling taking a big drop, it's becoming more and more apparent how much Bryz's $5,666,667 cap hit has been a mistake since the beginning. 


It's not a performance issue. It's a money issue. So, wipe your tears. 


For now..... let's just welcome a legit backstop, Steve Mason, to town. 


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