Months of Speculation has come to an end as the Philadelphia Flyers have announced that they will use their second amnesty buyout on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The goaltender who entertained us all with his ponderings on the universe in HBO’s 24/7 in 2011 (leading up to the 2012 Winter Classic) and who had signed a mega contract with the team in 2011, will soon be off the Flyers salary cap books (but not their finances). He joins Daniel Briere and becomes the 2nd Flyers Amnesty Buyout, meaning the team will have no more free passes on correcting any potential future mistakes.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said the following in a statement released to the media, ““I met with Ilya this morning and informed him that we are going to exercise a compliance buyout of his contract. This was a very difficult business decision to make for us and we want to thank Ilya for his time here and wish him all the best moving forward.”
Bryzgalov signed a nine-year, $51 million contract with the Flyers in the 2011 NHL Free Agent frenzy. The Flyers had moved Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in separate trades to make room for the mega signing. Bryzgalov never lived up to the hype though, and the Flyers will now spend the next 14 years paying Bryzgalov $23 million dollars as part of the buyout (2/3rds the money over double the term).
The Flyers, who traded for Steve Mason at the trade deadline, will now be in the market for yet another goalie this offseason. Mason certainly has potential, as he won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. However he seems to have gone downhill from there, and desperately needed a change of scenery. It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back in Philly. However as the only goalie on the roster now, we should expect the Flyers to bring in some serious competition for Mason, as relying on him as the undisputed #1 would be an incredibly risky gamble.
Incidentally, Mason lost his starting job to Sergei Bobrovsky, who the Flyers traded to Columbus last June for a pair of draft picks. Bobrovsky won the Vezina trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender this season.
Philadelphia has been a goalie graveyard since the days of Ron Hextall patrolling the Flyers crease ended (on his first stint with the team). The team always seems to be searching for the elusive fix in net.
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