Sources: Bernier ante raised; no call on Bryzgalov

Sources: Bernier ante raised; no call on Bryzgalov

June 20, 2013, 11:45 pm
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The Flyers, Maple Leafs, Islanders, Panthers, Wild and Devils are all reportedly in the mix to acquire Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. (USA Today Images)

While the Flyers remain in the sweepstakes chase for L.A. Kings backup goalie Jonathan Bernier, the stakes have been raised.

Much higher, it seems.

Sources say the Toronto Maple Leafs have significantly anted up the price to pry Bernier from the Kings and this is yet another reason why the Flyers can’t make a final decision on whether to file a compliance buyout on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Leafs, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and the New Jersey Devils reportedly are in the bidding, but sources say Toronto might be offering more than others are willing to pay.

“We’re not really talking,” said one Flyers source, which likely means general manager Paul Holmgren can’t match what others are offering Kings GM Dean Lombardi for a guy many feel could have been a No. 1 starter were it not for how well Jonathan Quick has performed.

Because of the lockout, the dates for several postseason business transactions have been extended for this summer only.

Compliance buyouts begin 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends. Clubs have until 5 p.m. on July 4 to declare their independence, if you’ll pardon the expression, from a player.

In other words, the Flyers still have lots of time to decide on Bryzgalov, which is why Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com earlier this week he has not given the goalie's agent, Ritch Winter, any promises his client won’t be bought out.

Winter disputes that, telling reporters earlier this week he had indeed received assurances from Holmgren that Bryzgalov will remain a Flyer.

At this point, it seems the Flyers won’t go through with a buyout unless they find a suitable replacement for Bryzgalov. They feel Bryzgalov can be trusted with the starter’s job over Steve Mason, who performed extraordinarily well albeit in only seven games at season's end.

The Flyers want to be aggressive this summer in retooling their roster and still feel they can upgrade their defense and forward positions.

That’s going to require additional salary. Bryzgalov’s $5.6 million cap hit makes him a likely target for a buyout to achieve that goal.

The Flyers also remain in the hunt for Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan. At the same time, the club wants to see what other forwards might be available via compliance buyouts.

One of those forwards is the Rangers’ Brad Richards, although reports suggest new coach Alain Vigneault wants him retained.

Today, the Flyers officially acknowledged they are buying out Danny Briere’s contract, which erases $6.5 million off their salary cap for next season.

Yet given the kind of moves the Flyers seem to have in mind, they’re going to need to shed considerably more money from their roster in the weeks ahead, which again points in Bryzgalov’s direction.

The cap for 2013-14 falls to $64.3 million.

They feel Bryzgalov can be trusted with the starter’s job over Steve Mason, who performed extraordinarily well albeit in only seven games at season’s end.