May 15, 2011, 4:30 PM EST
With the Flyers and Coyotes seasons being over as they’ve both been bounced out of the playoffs, their offseasons filled with intrigue about what to do to fix the team for next year is well under way. While some might be looking ahead, others are looking behind them to find out just what they could’ve done to fix things up. Apparently, some folks close to the Flyers are doing a bit of both.
CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio reported today that a source close to the Flyers tells him that the team may be taking a shine to impending free agent goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.The Flyers’ like of him was so strong that the teams discussed a potential trade last season that would’ve sent Flyers leading goal scorer and center Jeff Carter to Phoenix in exchange for Bryzgalov.
The inside source close to Bryzgalov says that the Flyers might be wise to make a run at the free agent this summer.
“He would love the adulation he’d get in Philadelphia,” the source said. “This is a big guy, who plays back in the net and can play a lot of games for the Flyers. Phoenix and the Flyers have had some talks this season about trades, including Jeff Carter.
“Phoenix needs some significant help up the middle with Kyle Turris. They’ve talked to Philadelphia about trading for Carter to achieve that. Maybe they do that. Philadelphia has to move salary. You need to clear about $5.5 million to bring Bryzagalov to Philly, if he’s their guy.”
Take what an anonymous source says with the size grain of salt you feel is appropriate but the idea is intriguing. The Flyers do have a ton of talent up the middle with Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, and Daniel Briere all being capable centers. Carter split time playing wing and center depending on how Peter Laviolette shuffled things around. Still, the thought of bringing in a loose cannon sort of guy into Philadelphia reeks of playing with fire. After all, how would he respond the first time the crowd turns on him after a string of tough starts? Either he rallies from it or melts down. Risky.
While a trade sounds foolish now, given the sort of contract Bryzgalov would demand as a free agent and how close the Flyers are and will be to the salary cap, losing Carter’s $5.272 million cap hit that goes all the way until 2022 (!) would help free the kind of cash the Russian goalie will likely want on the market.
Of course with young fellow Russian Sergei Bobrovsky already having thrived this season in Philadelphia, some wonder if the Flyers even need to pursue a top flight goalie when they very well might have one in their midst already. Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey is really hoping that GM Paul Holmgren stays away from dealing a prized goal scorer and offensive threat like Carter just to bring on another possible headache in goal.
We’ve already been over this in great detail, but a big-name goaltender like Ilya Bryzgalov just isn’t worth the money. Geoff ran the numbers last week, and he’d earn the Flyers just about two extra wins over the course of a season.
And if you’re one to brush off that stat because it won’t matter come playoff time, he was relied upon by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2011 postseason. He was the great equalizer in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, and he simply didn’t show up. They were swept, and a lot of it was his fault. Just saying.
Having a goalie no-show in the playoffs is something they’re a bit too familiar with in Philadelphia so you can understand why they’d have flashbacks of playoff failures past when it comes down to it. Still, the Flyers apparent need to figure out their goaltending is still up for debate. They’ve struggled with sub-par goaltending for this long and now that they’ve got a young heir apparent on a team poised to make a run now people, including Flyers executive Ed Snider, are nervous. It’s a situation that will bear watching leading up to and after the July 1 start of free agency.
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