by PuckStopsHere on 03/23/13 at 08:38 PM ET
The Philadelphia Flyers are not having a strong season. With 13 wins and 17 losses (one of which earned a regulation tie point), they are tied for the second last position in the East Conference. A big reason for their poor showing has been goaltending. The Philadelphia Flyers chose Ilya Bryzgalov to be their starter when they signed Bryzgalov and traded Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to make salary cap room. I criticized them at the time because they gave up a lot of present value to get a goalie who seemed chosen to win now.
Bryzgalov turns 33 early this summer. He is no longer performing at the level he performed at when he was in Phoenix. He is posing a 2.79 GAA and a .898 saves percentage. Those are lacklustre numbers. His back-up goaltending hasn't been any better. Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton have only appeared in five games between them and both have worse saves percentages than Bryzgalov.
Meanwhile the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in part because they added Carter and Richards. Philadelphia would clearly be a better team if they didn't make those moves.
The decision to make Bryzgalov the Flyers starting goalie has cost the Flyers again. Since he was their chosen starting goalie they traded away back-up Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets for draft picks. Bobrovsky has been one of the top goalies in the NHL this season and Bryzgalov has been below par.
The Philadelphia Flyers have been on a downward spiral because they have committed themselves to Ilya Bryzgalov in goal. He is talented enough that he may bounce back to form but he hasn't done well in Philadelphia. Worse the opportunity cost for the choice of Bryzgalov has included the trading of Richards, Carter and Bobrovsky. Each one of these players is having a better season than Bryzgalov is. That isn't to say that Philadelphia didn't get a reasonable return in some of those trades. Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn are three of the four top scorers on the team and all came in the trades made to accommodate Bryzgalov. The problem is Philadelphia has had poor goaltending. Their move to fix their goaltending hasn't helped it. The goaltender moved to make room for the new goaltender would have been the solution and he wouldn't have cost the team anything.
The Philadelphia Flyers need help in goal. Perhaps Ilya Bryzgalov will be that help in the future. He hasn't so far but he has the talent. They would be in a better place if they passed on him and let Bobrovsky carry the load. Paul Holmgren has remodeled the franchise around his chosen goalie and it hasn't worked out. Ilya Bryzgalov has not been a success for the Philadelphia Flyers. Not bringing him in would have been a better move for the team.
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