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Agent: Bryzgalov ‘loved’ Minnesota, really wants to return

Aug 21, 2014, 2:39 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31: Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Minnesota Wild reacts to play during a break in the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 31, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. The Minnesota Wild won 3-2. Getty Images

Even though he knows Minnesota’s goal crease is crowded, Ilya Bryzgalov still wants back with the Wild.

Per the Star-Tribune

“Ilya would very much like to return to the Wild and further the success the team had down the stretch last year,” agent Ritch Winter said. “It was one of the most satisfying experiences he has had in his career.

“Ilya loved his teammates in Minnesota, loved the city and loved and appreciated the support he received from the coaching staff and Wild fans. He would love to be a part of helping this team to enjoy the success they had together last year.

“He has instructed me to do all I can to facilitate a return to the Twin Cities even if it requires him to compromise somewhat to accommodate the budget issues facing the team if that becomes a possibility.”

Bryzgalov, 34, is currently an unrestricted free agent and the Wild aren’t exactly in the market for a goalie, with Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom already under contract and a new deal being hammered out for RFA Darcy Kuemper.

That said, this latest development could give Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher some added leverage at the negotiating table. There appears to be a significant rift between what the Wild think Kuemper’s worth and what Kuemper’s camp is angling for, something Fletcher alluded to in early August.

“Darcy certainly has great potential and played very well in stretches for us this season, but at the end of the day I think he’s played around 30 games in the NHL,” he told the Star-Tribune. “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract. We feel Darcy right now is trying to establish himself in the league and once he does that it’ll be a little simpler to come up with terms.”

Fletcher has also stated publicly that “everything’s a go” with Harding and Backstrom health-wise. Harding’s shown improvement from his setback with multiple sclerosis, while Backstrom is apparently recovered from season-ending core muscle surgery he underwent in March.

All of this could put the squeeze on Kuemper… or, it could possibly open the door for Bryzgalov to return on, say, a two-way deal and be the first call-up should either Harding or Backstrom struggle with their health again.

Bryzgalov actually played OK for the Wild last season, going 7-1-3 with a 2.12 GAA and .911 save percentage in the regular season. After getting yanked as the team’s playoff starter early in the Colorado series, he rebounded to play reasonably well near the end of Wild’s second-round loss to Chicago, posting a .927 save percentage over the final two games.

  1. sjsblitz - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    The team logo is a dead give away

    • 950003cups - Aug 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      For a guy who’s afraid of bears, its funny that he wants to play for a team called The Wild

  2. bsaures - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    In a totally unrelated story both josh harding and niklas backtsrom have both suffered serious from violent incidents. When asked who was responsible they simply replied : ” The Universe”.

    • wutangwild - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:05 PM

      ehhh 2/10.

      • bsaures - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        What a coincidence I said the same thing about your mother

      • iwt5007 - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        ehh now 1/10

      • wutangwild - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        That’s the best you can do? Time to go back to the drawing board..

  3. lbeezyse - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    If Kuemper isn’t willing to be realistic I say yes to Bryz on a two way deal. Either Backs or Harding will be out by Christmas & Keumper is turning into a diva. Whether it’s him or his agent, I don’t get why he doesn’t sign as he is e future here. Backs and Harding have 1-2 years left max and that opens up the crease for him &/or Gusty. Piss Fletch off now & he may swing a deal for the next Bernier type.

  4. lowenni - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Interesting…I do believe he can still be a decent goalie, either a great backup or a very average starter. He was pretty good for the Wild but somewhat middling during the playoffs. It sounds like he’ll take a pretty cheap contract to go back, but do they have room for him with their revolving door of goalies? Backstrom’s best days are behind him and his health is a serious concern, and Harding’s MS is as well. I think they should keep Harding on just cause he was so good when he played last year, but I think moving Kuemper and holding onto Bryzgalov wouldn’t really be a bad idea. He wants to be there and is the only one besides the unproven Kuemper who will be healthy throughout the season.

  5. mcphillthy - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    I LOVE seeing bryz beg for a job. Bryz is a cancer for any team he plays for. If the wild want to win then stay far, far away from bryz.
    It won’t be long until he is blaming his Dmen for the soft goals he lets in. The wild look primed to take the next step this year and bryz will only hold them back

    • bsaures - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      A) a philly fan shouldnt he chirping bryz character when their own backup goalie was a known drug addict .

      B) maybe if the philly d werent so brutal he wouldnt complain

      • mcphillthy - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        A) If Philly wasn’t reason enough then please look at what his former teammates in phoenix also said about him.
        B) I don’t care if anyone does drugs or not. All I care about is a goalie who can stop the puck
        This has nothing to do with Philly’s back up goaltending. It has to do with bryz and how much of a cancer he is. Just remember I warned you ahead of time.

      • bsaures - Aug 21, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        He was clearly frustrated by the philly media who blamed him for everything that went wrong with the team when A large portion of it was the people in front of him. There is a reason that Philly has gone through so many goalies in the last decade because the fans, media and management are too stupid to realize that if a dozen differant goalies dont work maybe it isnt the goalie that is the problem.

        He understands that he won’t be the starter he is even ok with being the ahl callup. He knows what his role would be and has accepted it. He was good all last year and handled being thrown into the starting job well. With the uncertainty of backstrom and hardings health and kuemper being stupid it doesnt hurt to have him as a option when things go south

        And fyi im not a wild fan

      • mcphillthy - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        Lol. I love it. I hope he is your only goalie come play off time that way you can check out in the first round.
        Its good to see there are delusional fans in other cities too. Go bryz go!!

    • mitchmarek - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      Leave it to a filthy fan to act like the goalie is always to blame.
      The Flyers are the same team that made Vezina winning Bobrovsky look like a little leaguer

      • mcphillthy - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        Did I say anything about mason?
        Is that your best response? To deflect the realization that bryz is your healthiest option in net? Lol.
        I don’t blame you for not wanting to explain how you are comfortable with bryz in net because it would be lies and we all know lies don’t make friends, Mitch. :-(
        I’ll be dropping in to say hi after bryz starts his circus and finger pointing.
        Oh boy I can’t wait for the season to start now! Go bryz, go!! :-D

      • clarke16 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        McFilthy kinda McDumphuck too, no? Maybe fresh order spicy pork eggroll help inspire couple more brain cell to join in party and help not look so dumb dumb? Me always help. :)

      • mcphillthy - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        And I can already tell you are the type of guy who likes the pu pu platter. Eat up. Mcdumphucks is open all night. Lol. Thank you for my next account name, by the way. Mcdumphuck. I LOVE it!!

  6. everyonesuksbutme - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Cosmonauts Rule!

  7. purpleguy - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    This Kuemper dispute has been simmering for a while — and only Fletcher’s quiet way of doing things is keeping it mellow. If Fletcher even makes the statement that he recently did publicly, you know it’s getting a bit rough. Kuemper’s agents were pains on the first contract, and those are practically form deals.

    • clarke16 - Aug 21, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      TIME is the single biggest lever in most any negotiation…and Fletcher clearly holds that upper ground at this point. Injuries/ineffectiveness on the part of Backy and Harding could change that, but Bryz is his ace in the hole…

      Kuemper’s agent is running a race with no legs here…

  8. chasedbyturtles - Aug 24, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Kuemper is a dope. Just be glad that there is team like the wild that is so desperate for goaltending that they are even willing to negotiate with a third stringer.

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