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Flyers Notes: New Flyers goalie Steve Mason wants to stick around

TORONTO - Steve Mason, acquired from Columbus on Wednesday, seemed confident that he could be the Flyers' goalie of the future.

Newly-acquired Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. (Genevieve Ross/AP)
Newly-acquired Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. (Genevieve Ross/AP)Read more

TORONTO - Steve Mason, acquired from Columbus on Wednesday, seemed confident that he could be the Flyers' goalie of the future.

Mason, 24, said he hadn't been told what his role will be in the final 11 games of the Flyers' season.

"To me, that's not my main focus," he said after facing some shots during Thursday's morning practice. "My job is to come in here and become the goaltender the organization believes I can be - and that's to be a No. 1 goaltender. I'm fully prepared to put the work in, and really excited to start doing it."

Anton Thun, Mason's agent, said he expected the 6-foot-4, 217-pound goalie to sign a one-year deal, perhaps as soon as next week. He can become a restricted free agent if he waits until after the season, and if he did, he would not receive less than his current $3.2 million salary, which carries a $2.9 salary-cap hit.

Thun said Mason would sign for less.

Mason was named rookie of the year with Columbus in 2008-09, but has struggled the last four seasons. He admitted he lost his confidence in Columbus and called the trade a "fresh start."

"You don't find many guys that size that can move like him . . . [and] handle the puck," Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese said. "And he's only 24 year old now, not even close to his prime."

The addition of Mason seemingly increases the chances that the Flyers will use a compliance buyout on Ilya Bryzgalov after the season, depending how the rest of the year plays out.

Bryzgalov made his 21st straight start Thursday in Toronto. Mason may get a couple of starts down the stretch.

Cousins to Phantoms

Nick Cousins will report to the AHL Phantoms after the Flyers' 2011 third-round draft pick avoided a trial on sexual-assault charges in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The Sault Star reported Thursday that Cousins and two other Ontario Hockey League players, including Mark Petaccio of Sicklerville, would not face trial after an arrest Aug. 25, when a woman alleged she was forced to have sex.