The Philadelphia Flyers made a bold move in attempting to shore up their goaltending woes yesterday. They traded a 2012 third-round pick, prospect Matt Clackson and future considerations to the Phoenix Coyotes for the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov.
I like the decision by the Flyers to be proactive, rather that wait until July 1. They barley gave up anything to get the exclusive negotiating rights leading up to UFA Day and there is a good chance they lock him up with a long-term deal.
What I don’t understand is the stance Phoenix is taking. Obviously they couldn’t afford to resign Bryzgalov, so they went out and got something for him. However, they were terribly thin at goaltender before he left. Now they are even worse. For a team asking to be saved they are doing much more than setting up for failure.
There are always pitfalls to this approach. Just last year the Flyers grabbed he rights to Dan Hamhuis but couldn’t lock him up. Now he is playing on Vancouver’s top pairing.
I don’t a see a reason why a deal won’t get done. Hopefully Bryz can handle playing in a city that will jump down your throat if you don’t stand on you head each night. If he can’t you may be looking at another disastrous result in the pipes for Philly. Personally I think they need to show more faith than a half season to truly determine what the result will be.
Right now the biggest hurdle for the Flyers will be to find the cap room to sign Bryzgalov. The Russian keeper made $4.5 last season and is expecting a major raise. With $24M in payroll spent on defensemen and another $23 dedicated to their top forwards, the Flyers need to unload some salary if they expect to spend $6M or more on their new goaltender.
Paul Holmgren is going to need to act quickly, likely at the June 24 Entry Draft, in order to save himself some time. Scott Hartnell and Matt Carle are two candidates to be moved, that will save just over $6M moving forward as they attempt to lock down Bryzgalov. Of course, the real problem will be when James Van Riemsdyk comes knocking for his second contract. That means the Flyers will have some more chess pieces to move around next June.