It should really not be a surprise that the Philadelphia Flyers decided to use their second compliance buyout on starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
When general manager Paul Holmgren said the team did not have plans to buyout Bryzgalov, most people were skeptical, especially since he also said that anything could happen. In Holmgren-speak, that means Bryzgalov was going to get bought out, so no one was all that surprised when the team officially announced that they were buying out the outspoken goaltender.
Like Danny Briere‘s buyout announcement, Holmgren said that it was a difficult decision to make but ultimately it was the right move for the franchise. Bryzgalov’s $51 million over nine years was the Flyers’ biggest cap hit and it’s what kept them over the cap floor so much. The Flyers will have to pay Bryzgalov $23 million for the next 14 years, and it has been reported by capgeek.com that this is the NHL’s biggest buyout to date.
Bryzgalov appeared a bit bitter at news of his buyout, but he has since thanked fans and issued a statement.
Holmgren stands on the fact that this was a business move, which is true, but there were certain other factors that impacted their decision. Firstly, although he is a solid goaltender, he does not possess the star power that his salary claims he should. He was more a mediocre goaltender than what his salary indicated.
Bryzgalov is also really outspoken and has got into trouble with his comments during the course of his tenure with the franchise. Bryzgalov was a walking public relations disaster due to his controversial comments and actions, so the Flyers definitely considered these other aspects when making the decision to buy out his contract.
So was it a good idea to buy out Bryzgalov?
For cap space, absolutely, but now the Flyers are in rebuild mode. Steve Mason has been given the start, but the Flyers will most likely be looking to add goaltending depth to work in tandem with him for next season. That either means they will probably consider calling up Brian Boucher, Cal Heeter or Scott Munroe from the Adirondack Phantoms, or they will look for a goalie during free agency.