On Tuesday night the Philadelphia Flyers took the first step towards putting a proven goaltender between the pipes, acquiring the rights to Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Illya Bryzgalov.
The Flyers dealt forward Matt Clackson and a third-round pick to the Coyotes for the rights to Bryzgalov who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
This is a tactic the Flyers have used before, experiencing both outcomes. The Flyers traded for the rights to Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell and were able to get deals done with both. Recently, they’ve traded for the rights to Dan Hamhuis and Evgeni Nabakov, though, were never able to come to terms.
It’s a bit of a risk, but one worth taking if the Flyers are serious about improving their goaltending. They’ve made it clear that Sergei Bobrovsky is their goaltender of the future, but that he still needs a few years of development. Bryzgalov is a proven goaltender and would no doubt receive a lot of interest if he were to hit the open market.
The problem for the Flyers is cap space, as of right now they have only around $400,000 of available space. The league salary cap is expected to rise at seasons end, perhaps rising $4 to $5 million dollars. However, there is no way around it, the Flyers will have to make a move if they hope to sign Bryzgalov.
Who will the Flyers move?
The popular choice is Jeff Carter, while other names like Scott Hartnell and Kris Versteeg have been mentioned as possible trade options. Also, the Flyers have some salaries coming off the books, as well as the inevitable retirement of Ian Laperriere. Though, some maneuveing still must be done.
More than likely, the Flyers will have to move two and maybe even three players. Moving Jeff Carter and perhaps Kris Versteeg isn’t far fetched. They could also try and move Jody Shelley who makes over a million dollars next year in a role the Flyers could replace much more cheaply. Also, the Flyers will have to make a decision between Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn, soon. Trading one of them is also a very real possibility.
Should be an interesting few weeks, we’ll see what the Flyers have up their sleeves.