The Minnesota Wild have once again parted ways with Ilya Bryzgalov — though perhaps not entirely.
On Monday, the Wild released Bryzgalov from his training camp PTO but, according to the Star-Tribune, the club is still in talks with the veteran netminder about his future.
Bryzgalov was invited to Wild camp in mid-September with the club’s goaltending situation in a state of flux. Josh Harding broke his foot and Darcy Kuemper was embroiled in a contract dispute, leaving Niklas Backstrom as the lone NHL netminder available (John Curry was also in camp, but has just six games of NHL experience.)
That Minnesota reached out to Bryzgalov wasn’t surprising. The Russian netminder had earlier expressed an affinity for the organization and city, instructing his agent to try and work out a deal to return to Minnesota under any circumstances.
Per the Star-Tribune (Aug. 21)
“Ilya would very much like to return to the Wild and further the success the team had down the stretch last year,” agent Ritch Winter said. “It was one of the most satisfying experiences he has had in his career.
“Ilya loved his teammates in Minnesota, loved the city and loved and appreciated the support he received from the coaching staff and Wild fans. He would love to be a part of helping this team to enjoy the success they had together last year.
“He has instructed me to do all I can to facilitate a return to the Twin Cities even if it requires him to compromise somewhat to accommodate the budget issues facing the team if that becomes a possibility.”
In light of this, it’s not surprising to hear the Wild and Bryzgalov remain in contact about his future. He could join AHL Iowa in the hopes of getting called up should Backstrom or Kuemper go down to injury.