Sitting on a plane bound for Toronto, Steve Mason tried to collect his thoughts on his way to meet new teammates. The goalie, who turned 25 at the end of May, was finally able to wipe the slate clean. While the Oakville, Ontario, product won the Calder Trophy his rookie year with the Columbus Blue Jackets, nothing seemed to go right afterward.

When this season’s lockout ended, former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky took over the starting role in Columbus after Mason had so many opportunities across 3½ years yet never could return to his rookie form.

He started his 2011-12 season with eight losses and endured three injuries, his own teammates the blame on each of them. He had head injuries from stopping shots in warmups and the morning skate, and during one game a teammate’s skate cut his blocker hand to the bone.

When he was healthy, things were worse a lot of the time. He posted goals-against averages north of 3.00 the three seasons after his rookie campaign.

On that plane ride, Mason realized all of his misery was behind him thanks to a trade-deadline deal that sent him to the Flyers, who were playing a road game in Toronto the night after he was moved.

“There was so much extra work that was put in to find solutions, but things just weren’t happening,” Mason told the Courier-Post the other day. “I was just telling myself as I was getting on that plane just to leave all the extra baggage back in Columbus and make sure that when I touched down that I was going to treat it as a new beginning and focus on getting my game back.”

Mason, Columbus’ third-round pick in 2006, immediately found new life in orange and black. Although taking losses in two of his first three starts, Mason impressed, especially in a 1-0 loss in Buffalo. He points to advice and support of Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese, whom he called “a calming influence.”

Mason ended his season with four victories, and in those games his save percentage was an out-of-this-world .948 and his goals-against average a terrific 2.00. That’s what he imagined when he closed his eyes on that plane ride.