Flyers owner Snider: ‘I didn’t pick Bryz’

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Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider wants to make one thing clear — in the summer of 2011, he told GM Paul Holmgren to get a quality goaltender.

But he didn’t say which quality goaltender.

In an interview with the Courier Post, Snider denied that he “picked” Ilya Bryzgalov to be Philadelphia’s goalie and that the decision was made by his hockey operations people, specifically GM Paul Holmgren.

From the Courier-Post:

Q: True or not, the fan base believes that you are most responsible for the Flyers trading for Bryzgalov two summers ago and then signing him to a nine-year, $51-million contract. A lot of people also believe if Bryzgalov’s contract isn’t bought out that you’ll be the reason.

A: First of all, I didn’t pick Bryz. That’s not my job.

Our staff picked Bryz of the available goaltenders and (general manager) Paul Holmgren basically decided that was the guy he wanted. My role in the whole thing was to say, ‘We’ve got to get a quality goaltender. We can’t go through what we went through that year with the goaltending in the (2010) playoffs.’

I think we would have won that Cup (instead of losing in the Final to Chicago) if we had been a little more solid at the time in goal and not switching around so often.

The point is that I don’t get involved. I don’t ever say, ‘I’m signing this player.’ I don’t know enough about the players. We have scouts. We have Paul Holmgren. We have all the people that work for Paul that make these decisions.

It should be noted the 2011 free agent goalie class wasn’t exactly teeming with talent.

Tomas Vokoun went from Florida to Washington, Jean-Sebastien Giguere went from Toronto to Colorado, Brian Elliott went from Colorado to St. Louis and, in a chain reaction move, Phoenix signed Mike Smith to replace Bryzgalov.

Now, for a different perspective of how the Philly-Bryz decision was made, here’s a piece from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News in June 2011, shortly before the Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million deal:

Snider made it clear that he is the one who wants Ilya Bryzgalov in a Flyers uniform next season, setting in motion a directive at the end of last season that put general manager Paul Holmgren on a mission.

The Flyers acquired Bryzgalov’s rights on June 7.

“It had to be done,” Snider told the Daily News, just after arriving here for tonight’s NHL Awards show at The Palms Casino and Resort. “I was part of making it happen. It was hard to sit there and watch the Stanley Cup final, knowing what [Tim] Thomas was doing for Boston.”

The article also reported that Snider met personally with Bryzgalov that summer, even sending his private jet to pick up Bryzgalov from New York after his flight in from Russia.

“I was very impressed with him,” Snider said. “He was intelligent, fun to be around. It really was a nice meeting.”