Ilya Bryzgalov Buyout Made OfficialBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
The official statement from general manager Paul Holmgren:
I met with Ilya this morning and informed him that we are going to exercise a compliance buyout 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.”
It was inevitable that the Flyers would buy out Bryz’s contract at some point, though no one knew if they would wait a year to make a final decision. One aspect of the buyout that may have prompted the organization to exercise the clause now is that teams are not allowed to buy out injured players, as the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild have learned with Martin Havlat and Dany Heatley.
Reporters close with some of his teammates have also suggested that his personality quirks and sarcastic attitude towards his future in the organization was burning whatever good will he had earned.
With this buyout, the Flyers will actually have salary cap space heading into free agency as well.
Byrzgalov finished this past season with a 19-17-3 record and a 0.900 save percentage. As many have pointed out during the course of the season, Bryzgalov was overworked to the point of exhaustion because of a failure of the organization to either sign an adequate back-up or have any faith that Brian Boucher or Michael Leighton could win another game at the NHL level.
Bryz didn’t appear to be part of the problem for why the Flyers didn’t make the post-season, but he wasn’t really performing much better than an average goaltender either.
With Jonathan Bernier traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Niklas Backstrom re-signing with the Wild on a three year deal, the options available to replace Bryz are limited at best. Ray Emery, fresh off a Stanley Cup victory as the back-up goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks, is the clear frontrunner to split duties with Steve Mason.
Hopefully the Flyers can convince Emery to sign a moderately inexpensive one-year with the caveat that he can fight for the starting position.
Then again, who knows what else the Flyers are planning at this point?
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