The Flyers gave goalie Michal Neuvirth a contract extension Wednesday, putting Steve Mason's future with the team in jeopardy.
Mason will finish the season with the Flyers, but he can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Both goalies have had subpar seasons.
Neuvirth, 28, signed a two-year contract extension for a total of $5 million. His salary-cap hit will be $2.5 million per season, a reasonable figure if he reverts to last year's form while serving as a bridge to the Flyers' goalie prospects when they are ready.
"We liked the term and we liked the cap hit," general manager Ron Hextall said. "I did not want to go into July 1 with no goalies because that's a recipe for disaster."
It will be interesting to see if the Flyers expose Neuvirth to Las Vegas in the expansion draft and protect Anthony Stolarz. Stolarz had been the only goalie under contract who could be exposed in the expansion draft. Signing Neuvirth changed that.
"It gives us choices," said Hextall, who was unable to deal Mason at Wednesday's trade deadline.
Hextall said he hasn't ruled out re-signing Mason, but it would probably take a stellar finish for the Ontario native to get another contract with the Flyers.
Mason is coming off a 4-0 win over Colorado and will be given a chance to be the team's No. 1 goalie for a while.
The Flyers also signed fourth-line center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year extension Wednesday that will pay him $1.45 million per season. Bellemare, who turns 32 on Monday, is one of the Flyers' best defensive forwards and penalty killers.
Before the signings, Bellemare and Neuvirth both could have become unrestricted free agents July 1.
Mason said he wants to stay with the Flyers, but Neuvirth's signing makes it doubtful.
"I've been here for a handful of years now. I kind of feel like there's some unfinished business," Mason said. "I want to be a guy who helps this team get to the next level."
Neuvirth is 10-9-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .897 save percentage; Mason is 17-17-6 with a 2.83 GAA and .903 save percentage.
The Flyers have won just three of their last 10 games, including Tuesday's 4-0 victory over Colorado, the NHL's worst team. They entered Wednesday four points out of a playoff spot with 20 games left.
"Even though we've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole here, I think there's a lot of belief in this locker room," coach Dave Hakstol said before the Flyers traded defenseman Mark Streit to Tampa Bay for center Valtteri Filppula.
The Flyers were three points out of a playoff berth last year, made no moves at the trade deadline, and inched into the playoffs.
Left winger Michael Raffl will likely miss the rest of the regular season with an unspecified lower-body injury, Hextall said. . . . With Streit traded, the Flyers need to name another alternate captain. Jake Voracek is the likely choice. . . . Winger Travis Konecny (leg injury) participated in a full practice; he said he will not play Thursday but did not rule out Saturday in Washington. Hextall, however, said it was a "stretch" that he could play Saturday. . . . Sean Couturier was ill and had to leave Wednesday's practice early. . . . The Flyers have a key game Thursday against visiting Florida, one of the teams in the wild-card hunt. . . . Mason on scoreboard-watching: "We can't worry about what other teams are doing; we have to focus solely on the Philadelphia Flyers' schedule and win as many hockey games as we can."