When looking at the NHL as a whole, it is easy to see that several NHL netminders thrive when given a second chance to prove their worth.
As an example, one can point out the likes of Ray Emery (Philadelphia Flyers), Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens), Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) and so on and so forth. One can probably name several players in this particular category.
With that said, one player who has really took advantage of his second chance is Philadelphia Flyers' netminder Steve Mason. Mason, who won the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year in the 2008-09 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, struggled to find his rookie form for three and a half seasons after that.
Mason, 25, burst onto the NHL scene in the 2008-09 season and dominated the league. That year, Mason went 33-20-0-7 with a 2.29 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and 10 shutouts in leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
While Mason did not play well in that postseason, the Blue Jackets thought they had their netminder of the future. Unfortunately, the team was wrong as Mason struggled for the next three and a half seasons in Columbus.
Mason never finished with a goals against average lower than 3.03, never went higher than a .901 save percentage and also ended up going well below .500 in each of those seasons in Columbus. Last season, luck simply ran out on Mason in Columbus as he ended up losing the Blue Jackets' net to Bobrovsky, who won the Vezina Trophy last season as the league's top masked man for his terrific play between the pipes.
Now with the Philadelphia Flyers, Mason has started playing like the netminder he used to be when he first came into the league. To end the season last year, Mason went 4-2 with a 1.90 goals against average and a .944 save percentage, which led the Flyers to signing him to a one-year extension worth $1.5 million just before the end of the regular season.
Fast forward to this season and Mason has the Flyers in the thick of a playoff race in the tight Eastern Conference with a chance to take the may be even the second or third spot in the Metropolitan Division. In 54 games this year, Mason is 30-16-0-6 with a 2.53 goals against average, a .916 save percentage and four shutouts.
Mason has especially been good in his last four games. Mason not only won all four games, but he has stopped 110 of 116 shots and earned one shutout in the process with wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins (two), Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues.
At just 25 years of age, Mason still has a lot of hockey left in him. With the way he is taking advantage of his second chance as a starting goaltender, Mason's career is back on track and with a chance to play in the postseason this year, he will be able to prove it to the rest of the league.