by PuckStopsHere on 06/26/13 at 12:04 AM ET
The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that they will buyout the remaining seven years of Ilya Brygalov's contract. This will save them a $5.67 million in salary cap space for each of those years. The Flyers are voluntarily giving away this player that they have made several deals that have weakened their team to accommodate.
In order to accommodate Bryzgalov's contract, the Flyers traded away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Both of them wound up in Los Angeles and were a big reason the Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup. Because Bryzgalov was the Flyers number one goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky was not getting much of a chance. Thus he was traded to Columbus for draft picks. He promptly won the Vezina Trophy this year. That is quite a group of players traded away to make room for Ilya Bryzgalov. Those three players alone make up a sizeable portion of the core of a top hockey team. The Philadelphia Flyers are not a top hockey team. The Philadelphia Flyers missed the playoffs this season and there is no reason to see it as a one-time event.
Currently the Flyers goaltending is a shambles. Steve Mason is their only proven goalie. He is a Calder Trophy winner in 2009. Since then he has been arguably the worst goalie to remain in the NHL. He has seven games played with the Flyers and they have been pretty good, but it is not a solid bet to happen on a regular basis. The Philadelphia Flyers need a goalie and it isn't clear that they will be able to bring in a talented one.
Every move the Flyers have made in this chain have made them a worse team. If they kept Richards and Carter they would be a better team. If they kept Bobrovsky, they would be a better team. In all likelihood Bryzgalov will be a better goalie next year than the goalies they wind up with. I think it is a pretty safe bet that he can outplay Steve Mason. The problem is the Flyers have made a series of bad moves and now the salary cap forces even non-playoff teams like the Philadelphia Flyers to give away players. This player who is being given away had already led to the trading away of several key players. It turns out that was done for no good reason. The reason that they thought made sense at the time hasn't led to anything.
Paul Holmgren should be fired as a GM for this chain of moves. It is not possible to defend them. I criticized them at the time and they look even worse in hindsight. This is a chain of moves that have dropped the Philadelphia Flyers from being a contender to being outside the playoffs. Imagine a Flyer team with Bobrovsky, Richards and Carter today. That team certainly looks better than the one that actually exists.
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