Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another Bryzaster averted; Ilya will be bought out

Getting the jump by more than 36 hours, the Philadelphia Flyers have decided to use their second and final compliance buyout on embattled goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.

“I met with Ilya this morning and informed him that we are going to exercise a compliance buy out of his contract. This was a very difficult business decision to make for us and we want to thank Ilya for his time here and wish him all the best moving forward," said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren in a statement issued a short time ago.

Thus ends the era of one of the most polarizing players to ever don the Orange and Black, after less than two full seasons here.

A subject of controversy ever since his rights were acquired from Phoenix two Junes ago and then signed to a mammoth $51 million deal over eight seasons, Bryzgalov exits Philadelphia having racked up a 52-33-7 record, 2.60 goals-against average and seven shutouts in 99 appearances. He also went for a 5-5 record and 3.46 GAA in 11 playoff starts.

"It's a costly mistake we made. It's hard to fault Ilya. But in a salary-cap world you need to make decisions that put you right when moving forward. It probably makes the most sense when you start looking down the road when keeping players like Claude Giroux in the fold," Holmgren added.

Welcomed more by teammates and fans than certain others close to the organization, Bryzgalov's exit -- whether for hockey reasons, business reasons, or both -- simply continues the "goaltending carousel" team power broker Ed Snider warned against in May of 2011 in the wake of a four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

Now, having missed out on snagging the re-signed Nicklas Backstrom and the traded Jonathan Bernier, the Flyers can hone in on the remaining top names in the ranks to supplement Steve Mason's development.

"We think a lot of Steve going forward. So we're obviously in the market for a goaltender who can play in tandem with Steve whom we feel comfortable with," Holmgren stated.

Under rules of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the club cannot officially announce Danny Briere or Bryzgalov's buyouts until roughly tomorrow evening, which would be 48 hours following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Excision of the two biggest albatross contracts Philadelphia owned now gives Holmgren more maneuverability with the pending free agent period set to start on July 5.

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