As the NHL regular season was winding down to the final eight games, Flyers center Danny Briere acknowledged he was very likely playing his last games in orange and black as well.
The new CBA allows for two compliance amnesty buyouts for use this summer or next.
Monday, CSNPhilly.com reported that Briere would be bought out but that a decision on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov remained up in the air.
On Tuesday, sources close to Briere confirmed he was informed last week that the buyout will go into effect 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final end. ESPN first reported earlier Tuesday that Briere had been told of his fate.
“I can’t comment of that stuff yet,” Briere said on Tuesday night.
Hockey reporter Josh Rimer reported via Twitter that Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, was told his client would not be bought out, but Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren strongly denied that to CSNPhilly.com.
"I didn't assure Ritch Winter of anything," Holmgren said. "When the time comes to do our business, we will do whatever is best for our hockey team."
Winter did not return calls for a comment.
Briere is owed $5 million on the final two years of his deal and will cost the Flyers $3.3 million on a buyout, payable over four years.
Briere’s original deal, signed in 2007 as a free agent, was eight years, $52 million.
Back in April, the Flyers’ most valuable playoff performer conceded a buyout scenario was very much a possibility.
“Definitely,” he said. “It’s reality. There’s no doubt about it. But at the same time, those are things I can’t control at this moment.
“All I can control is for me to come back into the lineup and play as good as I can, to show them. Other than that, I can’t worry about injuries or what they are going to decide to do. That’s out of my control at this point.
“It was agreed by both the players and owners. So no, I can’t complain about that. I end up being the one to pay the price. But you know what, there have been so many good things that turned in my favor over the years that I won’t complain about that.”
The 35-year-old had his worst season as a Flyer with just six goals and 16 points in 34 games this past year. He’s played on 13 different lines under coach Peter Laviolette, who used him primarily as a wing this season.
Briere’s final season was one riddled with injuries and disappointment. He suffered a chip fracture in his left wrist playing in Europe during the lockout, missed the first four games of the shortened season and returned to play on the wing -- where he is least effective -- and remained there.
Four times a 30-goal-or-better scorer over his 15-year career, Briere could be a good fit for the Washington Capitals, although if the Rangers buy out Brad Richards, New York would be a possibility.
A former Buffalo Sabre, Briere twice scored 31 or more goals as a Flyer. His best season in orange and black was 2007-08 (his first), when he tallied 31 goals and 72 points.
Historically, Briere is among the best in the game when it comes to the playoffs, where his level of play jumps dramatically.
He has 109 points (50 goals) in 108 playoff games. Coming into this spring's postseason, he was leading the league with 52 playoff points over the previous three years.
In 2010 when the Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago, Briere led the NHL with 30 points (12 goals) in 23 games.
A class act on and off the ice, Briere, who was loved by the organization, wanted very much to remain a Flyer.
He told CSNPhilly.com in April that if he left, he needed to remain on the East Coast to be near his three boys. He’s a single dad these days.
“Kids being here, it'd be tough to go somewhere else,” he said, adding his boys were briefed in advance of what the ramifications of a buyout were and how it would impact their lives.
“They understand a little bit what is going on here and they hear kids in school. It’s part of reality.”