Ilya Bryzgalov isn’t ready for aeronautics quite yet.
The veteran netminder — who infamously said he would’ve been an astronaut had he not played pro hockey — is gunning for an NHL comeback, per the NHLPA.
[Bryzgalov] just returned from a local Philadelphia rink on a Tuesday afternoon where he spent a few hours on the ice stopping pucks with his 10-year-old son, Vladislav, also a goaltender.
As he steps outside to chat – the cell reception inside of his house ‘isn’t great’ – it’s immediately clear Bryzgalov is seeking another shot at playing in the NHL.
“When I told my son I was looking to play in the NHL again, his eyes lit up,” said the 35-year-old, who is currently an unrestricted free agent. “He was so excited. Now he’s older and he understands the game more. It would be great if he could watch me play again, maybe to learn some things that can help him.”
Bryzgalov hasn’t played at all since the ’14-15 campaign, during which he made eight appearances for Anaheim… and went 1-4-1 with a .847 GAA and 4.19 GAA. That poor performance led to the Ducks waiving him and sending him to the AHL, before reversing course by placing Bryzgalov on unconditional waivers for the purpose of his release.
Once his stint with the Ducks was over, Bryzgalov was reportedly mulling retirement.
Best known for his mammoth nine-year, $51 million deal — one the Flyers used a compliance buyout on, just two years after tabling it — Bryzgalov is pretty far removed from his banner campaigns with the Coyotes, when he emerged as one of the league’s top netminders (finishing second in Vezina voting in ’09-10).
His comeback seems like a pretty big longshot.