Can Flyers Make Room for Bryzgalov?
With no likelyhood of a deal being made between the Coyotes and the soon to be unrestricted free agent, it comes as no surprise that Phoenix has traded the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov.
If you know a guy is going to walk away anyway, why not try and claw something back? Adding Matt Clackson, a 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft and the ever so vague ‘future consideration’ is better than a kick in the nuts after all!
Now the pressure is on the Flyers to get a deal done with the former NHL all star.
Their goaltending woes hit the headlines again this spring as the team failed to settle on one man to pick up the slack in net; with rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, veteran Brian Boucher and the man who took them to the finals last year, Michael Leighton, all finding themself in the path of an oncoming bus at some point during the play-offs.
In theory Brygalov is the solution to a problem which probably dates back to the day Ron Hextall’s power started to dwindle. Philadelphia has struggled to find a #1 goalie capable of leading them in the post season for nearly two decades now.
Brian Boucher did have a brief run as a fledgling NHL puck stopper during his first stint in the city of brotherly love; but they ran in to the Devils and that was that. Roman Chechmanek put up some very respectable regular season number, but again found himself the scape goat for more post season failure in Philadelphia.
Now the Flyers turn to Brygalov. A man who has put together two strong regular seasons in Phoenix, lamented the lack of parks in Manitoba when the idea of the Coyotes moving to Winnipeg was brought up and come dramatically unstuck against Detroit in the 2011 play-offs.
With that in mind, question one is as simple as this – is Bryzgalov the answer to Philly’s goaltending woes?
At 30 years old he is in his prime, has shown his ability to shine in the regular season but as yet is not really a proven play-off performer.
I’ll let you all draw your own conclusions on whether he is the answer in terms of ability as the more pressing question is the second one – how exactly do the Flyers fit him in?
The Flyers currently have 18 players signed at a total of $58.4m – most rosters come in at around 20 players, or just over, so the Flyers have somewhere between two and lets say four bodies to find to fill the roster.
Ville Leino, Sean O’Donnell, Nick Boynton, Boucher and Nikolai Zherdev are all unrestricted free agents whilst tough guy Daniel Carcillo, Andreas Nodl and Darrell Powl will be restricted free agents.
Wisdom suggests they’d like Leino to return, and possibly Carcillo. For the sake of argument we will assume the others do not return for one reason or another (which seems pretty likely with Zherdev anyway).
If Leino, Carcillo and Bryzgalov remain on the same cap hit as they had during 2010/11 the Flyers 2011/12 cap hit comes in at a shade over $65m! Meaning they’d need to make some room, somewhere, somehow.
Now one very important point to raise here is that some are suggesting the salary cap could be as high as $63m next season! That would certainly ease the Flyers burden.
Sending Sergei Bobrovsky down for a year for some AHL seasoning would then leave the Flyers at approximately $63.3m – which may even be under the cap, depending on how much it increases by. But again I must stress that we are also assuming there is no pay rise (or cut) for Leino, Carcillo or Bryzgalov on their 2010/11 value.
Reality is that in all likelyhood though Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is going to need to make some kind of trade. Especially if they sign Bryzgalov to a multi year deal, as young star James Van Riemsdyk is in line for a big raise when he becomes a restricted free agent in the summer of 2012.
One thing he does have on his side right now is time. He has three weeks to hold talks with Bryzgalov and as long as the Flyers are under the cap by training camp they are fine and dandy.
Don’t be surprised to see Bryzgalov in a Flyers jersey next season, but equally don’t be surprised to see Holmgren do his best wheeler dealer impression either to accomodate the Russian.
All figures generated using CapGeek.com