The plan was for Ilya Bryzgalov to have a lengthy NHL career. That’s surely what he assumed would happen when he signed a nine-year, $51 million contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 2011.
Of course, his time in Philadelphia was rocky — and that’s putting it politely. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren called him a “costly mistake” and bought him out just two years into the deal.
He went unsigned over the summer and had to wait until November before one of the worst teams in the league, the Edmonton Oilers, were willing to take a chance on him. He was later traded to the Minnesota Wild.
He hasn’t exactly made the Flyers regret giving up on him, but he has been solid enough this season with a 2.66 GAA and .911 save percentage in 29 games and has been particularly good in Minnesota.
All the same, when the question of his impending status as an unrestricted free agent came up, the 33-year-old goaltender wasn’t even ready to commit to extending his career.
“It doesn’t mean anything because I’m not sure I want to play next year,” Bryzgalov told the Pioneer Press’ ChadGraff. “Maybe yes, maybe no.”
Bryzgalov admitted that thoughts of retirement are relatively new for him, although he added that he hasn’t lost his love of the game.
By buying Bryzgalov out, Philadelphia has committed to giving him roughly $1.6 million annually through 2026-27, so he’s going to get paid for years to come regardless of whether or not he plays. That being said, after his work this season, he’s likely to attract some interest over the summer.
This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.
Per @EliasSports: @LAKings had 9 different skaters score in a game for 5th time in franchise history. Last: Jan. 21, 1987 vs. PIT (10-5 W).
Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.
Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”
Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.