Yesterday’s announcement made the amnesty buyout rumors for Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov official; the Flyers will be using one of their compliance buyouts to end his nine-year, $51 million contract after only 2 years between the pipes for the Flyers. Bryzgalov will no longer count against the Flyers salary cap and he will be getting paid $1.643 million per year for the next 14 years not to play for the team.
Bryzgalov, who has been known to have a roller coaster relationship with the Philadelphia media, released a politically correct statement through his agent Ritch Winter, thanking Mr. Snider, the fans and his teammates. The most interesting part of his statement was: “A heavy sword makes a very strong arm.” Of course something outlandish, in true Bryz style in full caps-lock to finish the statement:
“FOR FUTHER COMMENT, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO WALK UP TO ILYA BRYZGALOV NEXT YEAR AT TRAINING CAMP. HE AND HIS ADVISORS WILL HAVE NO FURTHER COMMENT UNTIL THAT TIME.”
I think Philadelphia will miss Bryz and his antics. The Flyers still have a goaltending issue to figure out, they just watched as Sergei Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy with the Columbus Blue Jackets less than a year after he was let go from being a Flyers goaltender. There are two ways the Flyers can get a good goaltender: draft one and develop him within the organization or trade for an underperforming goaltender with potential. As it stands the Flyers have: Anthony Stolarz, who was drafted and is currently being developed within the organization but is not quite ready for the big stage yet. They also have Steven Mason, who after winning the Calder Trophy was severally underperforming with the Blue Jackets and came to the Flyers at the trade deadline this season to have a great end to his season. Mason is experienced and is ready to play and has the potential to find his greatness again in between the pipes for the Flyers.
GM Holmgren is known to be a man of bold moves, even with the compliance buy out of Bryzgalov and Danny Briere cap space is still and issue for the Flyers. But, let’s look at some trade options for goaltending options because you can never count Holmgren out for a big move. Ray Emery, a 30 year old NHL experienced goaltender, who is a pending unrestricted free agent. Emery played a great season for the Blackhawks going 17-1 with a 1.94 goals against average. Emery was comparable with Corey Crawford, who lead the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup 2013 but a lower body injury took him out of the net in early April. Emery has been back and healthy since late May but was never called upon to play for the Blackhawks. Though taking Emery would be a risk since he hasn’t been a full-time starter in the NHL since 2010.
I think that Emery and Mason would make a good pair for the Flyers. If Holmgren were to take a large risk and spend a lot of money again he will be looking to get Roberto Luongo on his roster. Luongo’s salary is $5.3 million; previously Luongo had a long list of suitors, even though not many teams are looking to fill their number spot. That list has dwindled to just: Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes and the Florida Panthers a team he is very partial to. Luongo, who keeps a house in Tampa during the offseason, expressed a lot of interest in moving back there but could he end up in Philadelphia?
Another option that would cost the Flyers a lot might be Ryan Miller, who has a very long list of suitors. Miller, a veteran player would round out the young talent nicely, he also has a nice resume of big stage games, the Olympics and the Veizna trophy to name of few. There are the three trade options that I see for the Philadelphia Flyers if they are looking to get some veteran talent in their net. In true Philadelphia style, it is difficult to predict Holmgren will do.
Mason was an outstanding goaltender for the Flyers during the end of their 2013 season and I would love to see him start 50% of their games during the 2013-2014 season. The Flyers continue their search for a franchise goaltender. If the Flyers are up for a trade, that trade will have to happen in a matter of days by the July 4 deadline. Only time will tell.