When the Flyers acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from Phoenix in order to get their shot at negotiating a long term deal with the impending unrestricted free agent, it was expected to be an awkward dance. Bryzgalov was coming off a monster season that saw him fade in the playoffs but after a career that’s seen him be a steady workhorse of a goalie, free agency was set to be a good thing for the Russian.
With the Flyers in need of a steady presence in goal, Flyers chairman Ed Snider put the call in to get Bryzgalov and with that kind of backing from up on high, the Flyers desperation to get a deal worked out with Bryzgalov before he hits the open market on July 1 is ever-present. GM Paul Holmgren may have young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky there and willing to go, but considering he split time with Brian Boucher last season, Bryzgalov can help end that problem and the Flyers may have a solution ready to go.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports that the Flyers have the framework for a deal squared away with Bryzgalov that would keep him in Philadelphia for a long time at a price that might just drive Flyers fans and amateur capologists insane.
Kypreos went on to say that a deal may not be announced until after July 1. NHL tagging rules mean the Flyers would have to move money off their salary cap before announcing the signing.
While the two sides have not publicly discussed financial details, Bryzgalov was reportedly looking for a deal in the seven-year, $50-million range.
If you find Kypreos to be not-so trustworthy with such news items, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman backed up Kypreos on the target number for the cap hit being around or just above $7 million a year. At that price and that cap hit ($7.14 million), Bryzgalov would be the highest paid goalie in the NHL. He’d be higher than the current leader Henrik Lundqvist by nearly $400,000 based on cap hit. While that amount is staggering, what that would do to the Flyers salary cap situation is staggering.
According to CapGeek, the Flyers are currently committed to over $58 million next season against the cap. Adding Bryzgalov at $7.14 million per season would put the Flyers over the rumored new salary cap of $64 million and force the Flyers to make roster moves they may not be comfortable with.
Philadelphia has an impending free agent in Ville Leino as well as monster contracts already signed to big time players like Jeff Carter, Daniel Briere, and Mike Richards. The trade rumors about Carter are likely to persist given his deal is fat enough to help clear the space needed to give the Flyers the room they need to make signing Bryzgalov to that kind of money more palatable. Of course, if the Flyers want to have any sort of depth, they’ll need to more even more salary to make it work. Dumping Michael Leighton or Bobrovsky in the AHL helps that out as well as the potential of moving defenseman Matt Carle elsewhere.
Suffice to say, Philadelphia’s summer is going to be interesting no matter what and during the draft they may prove to be a team worth watching not for who they pick but for who they might move. In 2009, the Flyers jumped big and traded for Chris Pronger at the NHL Draft in Montreal. This time around, if they did make a move it won’t be an addition. It’s always interesting in Philadelphia.