Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal

491323.jpg

Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 4:55 p.m. Updated: 10:14 p.m.
By Sarah BaickerCSNPhilly.com
Really, it was only a matter of time.

After days of rumors, reports and denials, the Flyers have finally inked goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year deal worth 51 million.

Ilya is one of the top, upper-echelon goalies in the league, general manager Paul Holmgren said. In bringing him in, he does give us stability. We still have young guys we think a world of who can grow with our team. Well see how that goes. By adding Ilya and maintaining the defense we had last year, we think were in a good spot.

Though the actual deal doesn't come as a surprise the general sense from both the Flyers and Bryzgalov's agent Ritch Winter in recent days was that an eventual agreement was expected it is a bit heftier than the seven-year dear originally reported earlier this week.

Bryzgalov, according to CapGeek.com, will earn 10 million in the first year of the deal next season, making him, as of now, the highest paid player in the NHL.

And what the Flyers gave up to make the long-term deal possible Jeff Carter and Mike Richards came as a shock.

When we made the deal to get negotiating rights to Ilya, it put the wheels in motion with a lot of teams, Holmgren said. We fielded a lot of calls from teams over the last 10 days."

The newly 31-year-old Bryzgalov (his birthday was Wednesday) appeared in 68 games last season, posting a 2.48 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He had seven shutouts (the Flyers had none).

His postseason performance, however, did leave something to be desired. Bryzgalovs Phoenix Coyotes were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings, and Bryzgalovs goals-against average plummeted to 4.36.

Bryzgalov is a former runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, however (in 2009-10) and was the backup to J.S. Giguere in 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup. Hes played with both Chris Pronger and Sean ODonnell.

The Flyers acquired the rights to negotiate with Bryzgalov on June 7, sending left wing Matt Clackson, a third-round draft pick in 2012, plus another conditional pick to Phoenix.

The Flyers then began negotiations with the top-tier goalie in earnest, having until July 1 to strike a deal or else risk losing Bryzgalov to free agency Bryzgalov made just one trip to Philadelphia, but all along it appeared as though a deal were imminent.

When we acquired his rights we had every intention of signing him, Holmgren said.

The Flyers and Bryzgalov first held meetings on June 16. As recently as Wednesday of this week the Flyers said a deal with Bryzgalov was still a work in progress if not a while away but rumors that a seven-year deal worth about 7 million a year was to be expected.

The big question now, of course, is what happens to young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who will enter his sophomore year with the team.

Bobrovsky, 22, wowed the Flyers from the very beginning of last season, forcing them to keep him in the NHL instead of sending him to the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL to gain North American experience. Though his performance fell off a bit as the season progressed, and certainly did so in the playoffs, Bobrovsky proved he can play at a high level.

In addition, Bobrovsky and Bryzgalov are both Russian which could absolutely benefit Bobrovskys continued maturation and acclimation to the NHL.

But playing behind a veteran workhorse who can easily handle 60-plus games per season means Bobrovskys playing time would be drastically cut. Last year, his rookie year, he played in 54 games.

Will 20 or so games a season be enough to help Bobrovsky grow into the player the Flyers hope hell become? Or could Bob be the next Flyer offered up on the trading block?

We like him as a good young goalie in our league, Holmgren said. What it does to him, I am not sure. We like him. Our intention is to have him and Ilya as our goaltending tandem.

E-mail Sarah Baicker at sbaicker@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SBaickerCSN.
Related: Five questions that remain for the new-look Flyers A look at the three players acquired by the Flyers

Flyers draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov at No. 22 after swapping pair of picks with Jets

Flyers draft Russia U-18 C German Rubtsov at No. 22 after swapping pair of picks with Jets

Updated: Saturday, 12:23 a.m.

The Flyers did not stay put at No. 18 overall in the NHL draft Friday night.

They traded the pick and the 79th selection (third round) to the Jets for the 22nd overall pick and the 36th selection (second round).

At No. 22, the Flyers drafted 17-year-old Russia U-18 center German Rubtsov (6-1/174).

Rubtsov, a lefty shot, posted 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in 28 games with Russia’s U-18 team during 2015-16.

International Scouting Services ranked him as the 15th-best 2016 draft prospect and he's known as a two-way center with plus hockey smarts.

“We really liked the early part of the second round, so we actually looked at adding a pick, we have two later seconds so we talked about maybe moving up,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said in an interview with NBCSN following the selection. “So when this opportunity came along, actually German was a guy we had in mind and we felt like we’d get him at 22.

“The forward is our priority in this draft and we have a lot of picks so we’ll be drafting more.”

The Flyers now have three picks in the second round with selections 36, 48, 52. The draft finishes Saturday with Rounds 2-7, starting in the morning.

Draft notes
• As expected, Scottsdale, Arizona, native Auston Matthews went No. 1 overall to the Maple Leafs, becoming the seventh U.S.-born player to go as the top pick and the first since 2007.

• An NHL record 12 U.S.-born players were drafted in the first round.

• The Jets took 6-foot-7 Windsor (OHL) defenseman Logan Stanley with the No. 18 overall pick acquired from the Flyers. Stanley is the cousin of Capitals center Michael Latta.

• USNTDP (USHL) left winger Kieffer Bellows, who was popularly tied to the Flyers at No. 18 before Hextall moved back, was drafted No. 19 by the Islanders. Bellows’ father, Brian, was taken No. 2 overall in the 1982 draft and went on to play 17 NHL seasons.

• There were seven trades made during Round 1 of the draft.

2016 Flyers free-agent target: Islanders RW Kyle Okposo

2016 Flyers free-agent target: Islanders RW Kyle Okposo

Each day until July 1, the day free agency begins, CSNPhilly.com producers Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile some of the NHL's top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.
 
Kyle Okposo, right wing
 
Age: 28
Height: 6-0
Weight: 217
Last team: New York Islanders
2015-16 cap hit: $2.8 million
 
Scouting report
One of the biggest names on the free-agent market, Okposo is a nifty puck-handler with a fearsome shot, making for a richly talented offensive winger.
 
Sounds just like Ron Hextall’s No. 1 offseason need.
 
The 2006 seventh overall pick finished last season with 64 points — which would have been second on the Flyers — by tallying 22 goals and a career-high-tying 42 assists. His last three seasons have gone for 50-plus points, while in 2013-14 he posted a career-best 69.
 
Okposo is a multifaceted scorer, understanding how to produce in a variety of ways, whether it’s using his body or skill. He knows how to play big and small.
 
The righty shot is dangerous on the power play and a bona-fide top-six forward.
 
Many believe he’s just reaching his prime.
 
Projection
The Islanders have essentially said so long to Okposo, so he’s up for grabs.
 
The Flyers have interest but it looks to be a daunting task to snag the 28-year-old.
 
With the extension of Radko Gudas and the need to re-up restricted free agent Brayden Schenn, it simply doesn’t appear monetarily plausible for the Flyers to reel in a top-six forward the ilk of Okposo.
 
Rumblings have it that Okposo could be searching for a long-term deal in the ballpark of $7 million a season. Whether he’s worth as such is one thing. Whether the Flyers could afford it is another.

I’m a believer the Flyers should seek out Okposo, but unless Hextall pulls off an unforeseen trade to surprisingly clear the barn and make room, I don't see it happening.

NHL draft: Logan Stanley's size his biggest asset

NHL draft: Logan Stanley's size his biggest asset

BUFFALO, NY — Logan Stanley had no shortage of help to prepare for the NHL draft process.

Stanley leaned on his cousin, Washington Capitals forward Michael Latta, for advice as he attempts to carve out his own path to the NHL.

The cousins usually connected once a week during the hockey season, with Latta, a 2009 third-round selection of the Nashville Predators, providing guidance for his younger cousin.

“He went through all this — the combine, the draft — he kind of just said, ‘Enjoy it, work hard, you’re still a young kid so they’re not going to base your career off of this week,’” Stanley said at the recent NHL scouting combine. “He just said work hard, enjoy it and do your best.

“He watches [my games] when he can, he’s busy too with Washington, but he sees some.”

Anyone who watches Stanley can immediately see his biggest asset is his size. At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, he had the longest wingspan during the combine testing at 82.75 inches — a full 1.75 inches longer than the next prospect.

With his size, it’s not surprising the scouting report on the defenseman is that he’s an intimidating presence on the blue line. However, Stanley also skates well for his size and rarely gets beat wide. His size also gives him a large reach, making it difficult for opponents to get around his active stick.

Stanley is at his best when he’s playing a simple, physical puck-moving game. For Team Canada at the Under-18 World Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Stanley helped make up a strong second pairing along with under-aged blue liner Nicolas Hague.

“Someone who is hard to play against defensively, going to give a good effort every night and someone who competes hard,” Stanley said, describing his game. “Trying to watch [Shea] Weber and try and play like him, [he's a] good skater, and obviously he’s had a great career so far. He’s a leader, definitely someone I look up to.

“I think just how hard he plays every game. He works hard and plays a hard game so I think just playing like that.”

Stanley was the 19th-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, up from 23 in the mid-term rankings.

With ISS Hockey, Stanley went from 27th in the February ranking to 25th in the final ranking.

“He’s a real draft wild card,” ISS Hockey Scouting Director Dennis MacInnis said. “He’s the type of guy that anytime after 17, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes. He’s one of the most improved players since the start of the year.

“I think most of it was his confidence. For a big guy, he’s very mobile. There’s no questions about his skating or anything like that. He’s just got that tremendous combination of size, skating, compete level and hockey sense.”

Stanley scored five goals and 12 assists in 65 regular-season games while playing for the Windsor Spitfires this season. He added one goal in five Ontario Hockey League playoff games.

Away from the rink, with his down time, the Waterloo, Ontario, native likes to work on his golf game.

“I took a few weeks off after the season, but [working out] never really stops,” he said. “On a day off, I play a round of golf or just hang out with my family. [My golf game] is all right, needs some improvement.”

On the ice, scouts would like to see him improve on his offensive creativity. Additionally, he needs to learn to release his shot from the point quicker and use his large frame more to his advantage on a more consistent basis.

With the Flyers picking at No. 18 on Friday, Stanley will likely be available for them.

“He just needs time to figure out what [type of defenseman] he is because he likes to go with [the puck] once in a while,” MacInnis said. “He can’t handle the puck [well], but he can skate. Once he figures out what he is, I think there’s tremendous upside with the kid.

“Once he figures [the puck handling] out, his confidence has come a long way, and his game has really grown as the season has gone on. We project him more as a Top-4, shutdown, defenseman more than an offensive guy.”