If nothing else, Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is doing his due diligence when it comes to trying to improve his team’s goaltending. Word surfaced Wednesday that Tim Thomas isn’t the only noteworthy goalie who has been offered a professional tryout; the franchise has had conversations with Ilya Bryzgalov and Jose Theodore too, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Here are some more interesting tidbits on the process, via the Sun-Sentinel:
Reports say that Theodore turned down the PTO, and instead wants a contract. TSN and ESPN reported that Thomas wants to be assured of the starting job, and Tallon is saying he wouldn’t want a goalie who didn’t want to be the starter but he’s not giving out guarantees. Expected starter Jacob Markstrom said he wants and expects to be the starter but will work hard to earn it. He can’t comment on the veteran goalies because he can’t control that.
It’s worth noting that Markstrom’s contract goes from two-way in 2013-14 to one-way in 2014-15, so Florida has some excellent flexibility if management decides to demote him in favor of a more experienced goalie.
However this all shakes out, few teams have entertained as much as the Panthers have this preseason.
More on the Panthers preseason
Report: Thomas handed tryout offer
Poll: where should Thomas land?
Brad Boyes gets a shot, too
Sounds like Ilya Bryzgalov is on his way to Sweden.
On Tuesday, a report surfaced from local news outlet Aftonbladet claiming the ex-Flyers goalie will soon begin practicing with Swedish Hockey League team Farjestad.
Farjestad goalie coach Erik Granqvist — known as one of the top goalie gurus in Europe — confirmed the move, tweeting that Bryzgalov was being brought aboard at the request of player agent Ritch Winter.
Bryzgalov, 33, was bought out by the Flyers in June with seven years remaining on his nine-year, $51 million deal signed in 2011.
While it sounds unlikely that Farjestad will offer Bryzgalov a new deal — GM Hakan Loob said the team already had “two good goalies” in ex-Calgary netminder Danny Taylor and former Atlanta draftee Fredrik Pettersson Wentzel — the move to Sweden could suggest that Bryz is getting a head start on his training in the hopes of landing something soon.
Last week, a report surfaced out of Russia that expansion KHL club Admiral Vladivostok had interest in Bryzgalov, though the club never made any formal overtures or contract offers.
Ilya Bryzgalov has reportedly drawn interest from Admiral Vlaidvostok of the Kontinental Hockey League, according to Russian news outlet Sport Express.
Based on a Google translation of the piece, Admiral’s president — longtime NHLer Alex Mogilny — says the ex-Flyers netminder has been invited to join his expansion club (Admiral will begin its first season of KHL play in 2013-14), but concedes it might not have the necessary funds to sign Byrzgalov.
Here’s the translation:
Q: Olympic list Zinetula Bilyaletdinov saw? It does not have goalie Bryzgalov …
Mogilny: List seen. And about Bryzgalov can only say good words. A great goalkeeper. You do not have to hang on him all the dogs for the defeat at the World Cup.
Q: But in “Philadelphia,” his case was abysmal …
Mogilny: Who told you that? You know how many games last season, he won and how many lost? Saying that his contract bought out – so it’s financial policy of the American team. Bryzgalov is now without a club, and I am pleased to have invited him to “Admiral”.
However, we are not a rich club, so I do not know whether he will accept our terms and conditions.
The “Olympic list” bit is in reference to Bryzgalov not being one of the five goalies named to Russia’s selection roster. Three NHLers were — Sergei Bobrovsky, Semyon Varlamov, Evgeni Nabokov — along with KHL Metallurg’s Vasily Koshechkin and AK Bars’ Konstantin Barulin.
UPDATE: According to Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov, some context appears to have been lost in translation. Mogilny apparently said the club would be interested in Bryzgalov (or a netminder of his calibre), but no formal offer had been tabled.