Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Posted: 3:30 p.m. Updated: 4:25 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio
Ilya Bryzgalov, the 30-year-old Russian goalie, whose rights the Flyers acquired late Tuesday, already knows the right things to say to win public support in Philadelphia.
As promised by agent Ritch Winter, Bryzgalov released a statement on Wednesday, in which he not only lauded the Flyers, but said the magical words fans yearn to hear every waking moment of their lives: Stanley Cup.
I am pleased the Flyers thought enough of me to make the trade with the Coyotes. Philadelphia is a great city, a great organization and a great team with a rich history, Bryzgalov said.
I am looking forward to meeting with general manager Paul Holmgren to discuss the possibility of us working together for many years to come. I would very much like to have the opportunity to play for the Flyers and be a part of the team Paul has assembled and to work with Paul and Mr. Ed Snider to see if we can achieve the ultimate goal.
I believe the Flyers are right there and I would love very much to be a part of the team that brings the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia. It would be a great honor. And its time!
Bryzgalov will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Flyers have 23 days to sign him.
That last part of his quote -- its time -- obviously is going to ring a bell with anyone who was alive and watching the Flyers when they last won a Cup in 1975.
Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com he intends to open negotiations in earnest this weekend. The goal is to sign Bryzgalov before the NHL Draft (June 24-25) in Minnesota. Holmgren was in Boston on Wednesday for the GM meetings.
Bryzgalovs camp figures to be seeking a five-year deal with a salary exceeding 5 million. There is where it gets dicey. There is a thought that if Winter takes Bryzgalov into free agency he could get as much as 7 million a year for his client.
The depth of unrestricted free agent goaltenders this summer is shallow: Bryzgalov, Tomas Vokoun and Dwayne Roloson. There is also Evgeni Nabokov, under contract to the Islanders, but refusing to report after the Isles plucked him off re-entry waivers from Detroit.
The Flyers have numerous players to re-sign: most notably, Ville Leino and Sean ODonnell both unrestricted free agents. They could become a salary cap casualty. There are also restricted free agents to re-sign -- such as Andreas Nodl and Darroll Powe -- not to mention Dan Carcillo.
Even with the cap going up from 59.4 million to possibly 63 million, it wont help the Flyers without losing salary somewhere. Ideally, they need to lose 5 million overall to have any kind of cap cushion once the season begins.
The Flyers options here are dealing high salaries, such as Jeff Carter (5.272 million), Matt Carle (3.43 million) or Kris Versteeg (3.08 million). Given how much the Flyers gave up to acquire Versteeg -- a 1st and third-round pick in this months draft -- its hard to see them parting with him so soon.
Yes, Ian Laperriere will again go on long-term injury, gaining the club 1.16 million, but thats a drop of water on the ice.
At this point, youd have to think that the Flyers will need to offer Bryzgalov a five-year deal worth nothing less than 6 million. Someone of consequence has to go.
Then again, if Bryzgalov wants to bring Philly a Cup -- like he says -- maybe he takes less.
Phoenix GM Don Maloney certainly felt he could not afford to re-sign him.
I never felt at any time we were remotely close and on the same wavelength, Maloney told the Arizona Republic on Tuesday.
Obviously, Ilya was a very good player for us the last few years, and we were prepared to pay him well.
But he was looking to be one of the top-paid goaltenders and one of the top-paid players in the league. I just felt between the dollars and the term, it just made no sense to us.
Related: Flyers acquire rights to Bryzgalov from Phoenix Flyers let go of top goalie prospect Eriksson