DeNicola's Dekes: Extensions, Signings and Injuries, OH MY! >

by Michael DeNicola

Monday, April 08, 2013 --

Today the Philadelphia Flyers announced that our newly acquired twine-sitter, Steve Mason, has signed a 1-year extension through the 2013-14 League year, worth $1.5-million. As a former Blue Jacket, Mason had signed a two-year deal at $2.9-million per season. As he's currently skating on the last year of that contract, the Flyers and Mason wanted to get an extension finalized before his RFA status qualified him at $3.2-million this summer. Mason's agent, Anton Thun, had stated to the press that his client understood the salary cap nightmare in store for Philadelphia this offseason, and was willing to take a cut in pay. 

This 1-year extension makes the most sense for two reasons; for one, this gives the Flyers a small dose of cap support, even for a single League year. And two, this is an opportunity for the 24-year old netminder to re-establish himself as one of the more promising goalies in the system, just as he was back in his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season when he played 61-games, tallied a .916 save-percentage and 2.99 GAA, and chalked up a League leading 10-shutouts. 

Since then, Mason's statistics have declined considerably. You can credit that towards the awful Columbus squads he played for, but the fact remains that he's got quite a workload in front of him to prove his freshman year was no joke.

This is an incredibly good signing for the Flyers, however it's nothing but more fuel on the "goalie controversy" fire. 

I doubt I need to remind any of you that this town's sports media (especially hockey media) are nothing short of muckraking sharks; when they sniff blood in the water, it becomes a frenzy. Already I have seen articles written, Facebook posts submitted and Tweets tweeted from the Flyers news outlets asking if this is the beginning of the end for our franchise, $51-million goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov. 

Mathematically speaking, the 2013 Philadelphia Flyers are not eliminated from snagging that last Playoff spot. Not yet, at least. Though the odds are pressed against us like the beautiful breasts of a 21-year old gold digger on an 80-year old oil tycoon's face, our Club still stands a small chance to deliver a Playoff berth to this city. 

So, what does the media do? Well, they take this opportunity to suck the fans into another goalie controversy with their silly propaganda. My advice?

Don't buy into it. 

We still have ten more contests to play, and it does no one any good to invest thought into this summer's question-mark between the pipes. Leave that up to the suits in management and ownership to worry about right now. Bryzgalov has been our guy this season, and will be for the rest of this season.

Nevertheless, all of this polemic brainwashing streamlined from the beat writers will ultimately trickle downward through the walls of our Flyers' dressing room, and into the skull of Bryzgalov. Say what you want about his performance this season, one thing is for sure -- he has an impressionable temporary psychological state of mind. We've seen these hounds of hell break through his mentality with ease before, and they've already begun another frenzy. It's pitiful, but completely out of our control. 

* * * *

On Sunday afternoon, the Flyers had announced that they signed 21-year old college defenseman, Mark Alt, to a 3-year, entry-level contract. 

The rights to the 6-foot 5-inch blue liner were acquired by the Flyers prior to the abbreviated 2013 season in the trade for veteran goalie Brian Boucher. Alt's been playing his hockey for the Minnesota Golden Gophers since 2010-11, skating mainly in their top four defensive pairings. 

As an NCAA freshman, Alt played 35 of 36-games with the Gophers, netting 2-goals and 8-assists. The following season, Mark improved his numbers with 5-goals, 17-assists in 43-games played. 

His scouting report mentions how fluid his skating is, even for a defenseman of his size. As a two-way playing blue liner, Mark's two biggest attributes -- other than his frame -- are his speed and agility on the ice. But don't get too excited too quickly; Alt has yet to play a single game at the professional level, and still has tactical play and positioning to work on before we can even begin flirting with the idea of sticking him into the Flyers lineup one day. He will report to the Adirondack Phantoms and join them as they playout the remainder of their AHL season.

Per Broad Street Hockey, as of now, Alt represents the 37th contract on the Flyers' reserve list -- 46th if you count the nine restricted free agents under organizational control for next season.

* * * *

After his 5-game stint with the Flyers earlier this season, Scott Laughton was slid back down to the OHL where he's been skating with the Oshawa Generals. In just 49-regular season games played (he missed 10 due to supplementary discipline), Scott's second in scoring for the Generals, with 23-goals and 56-points total (1.14 avg points per game). 

Laughton and the Generals are currently three games into the second round of the Playoffs after skating past the Niagara Ice Dogs in the first round. In his eight post-season tilts, Laughton's lit seven lamps and assisted on six other goals, bringing his points total to 13. 

It's great to see him producing offensively in the OHL, though we're very well aware that it's his defenisve and two-way style of play that will serve the Flyers moving forward from the 2012-13 season. 

The 2013 20th Overall pick registered 57:35 of on-ice time and no points in his five games with the Flyers.

* * * *

In Other News...

In Sunday's game against Bridgeport, Phantoms forward Eric Wellwood suffered (what looked to be) an injury you'd see in a horror film. The 23-year old left-winger took a skateblade (possibly his own) to his lower leg, severing a tendon and "causing vascular damage."

After the match had ended, Phantoms defenseman Danny Syvret tweeted this photo of Wellwood's skate --

It looks like Happy Gilmore literally stabbed a guy with it.

No news has come up regarding his status for the remainder of the season, but I'll go ahead and safely bet he's out indefinitely. 

After many moons of waiting around to see if Flyers blue liner Nicklas Grossmann is going to return to action any time soon, Philadelphia Inquirer's Sam Carchidi broke some very unfortunate news earlier Monday afternoon --

Tack Grossmann's name to the mile-long list of injuries this season.

Also per Carchidi, "Danny Briere practiced with the team for the first time since he suffered a concussion on March 23. Briere said if he keeps progressing, he is hopeful of returning Saturday in Buffalo."

No thanks, Danny. We're, uh..... we're doing just fine.

Amazing to think that Briere's gone from a dependable star sniper in this League, to being the kid you pick last for a game of kickball. 

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