Ilya Bryzgalov

Report: Flyers and Ilya Bryzgalov have framework set for new contract; Cap issues ahead again?

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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.

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

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For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.

Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.

But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.

Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.

When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.

Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.

The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.

Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson

Quinnipiac forward Tommy Schutt, left, moves the puck as North Dakota forward Luke Johnson, middle, checks Quinnipiac forward Travis St. Denis during the first period of an NCAA college hockey tournament game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota won 4-1. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
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Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.

This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.

Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.

Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.

Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.

Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

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Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?

Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.

Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.

Official update on the really important story of the evening:

Speed, skill help Stars score late victory to take series lead over Blues

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The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.

Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.

As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.

The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.

Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.

Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.

Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.