With the Philadelphia Flyers set to buy out the contract of Ilya Bryzgalov, speculation has already run rampant as to where he could potentially end up. Will he search for a new home around the league, or will he try and make a move over to the KHL in his home country?
As of right now, the former seems much more likely, but don’t rule out the KHL as a possibility. That goes for any Russian player, really, but especially one coming off as awful an experience as Bryzgalov just went through in Philly. Nonetheless, he does have some options around the league if he chooses to stay.
One of those options promises to be the Edmonton Oilers. Though they have a starter in place right now, the Oilers are known to be looking at upgrading between the pipes. Nikolai Khabibulin is a goner, so the Oilers are looking for someone to pair with Devan Dubnyk.
Whether they’re looking to roll with two consistent starters, want to increase the competition for Dubnyk, are looking strictly for a backup, or are looking for a true starter, remains to be seen. But with Bryzgalov set to hit the market as a free agent, there definitely could be a match here.
Of course, there are some questions about it as well. Despite the fact that Bryzgalov said that he would definitely consider playing in Edmonton, with money not really an issue this point with the dough he’s taking home from the buyout, many wonder if his attitude would be in the right place. He’s said negative things about the organization in prior years, on top of the rumors coming out of Philly that he wasn’t really well liked, in and out of the locker room.
For a team that’s trying to get back into the playoffs and undergo a culture change, of sorts, you have to wonder if they’d want to bring that type of situation in. But at the same time, they may have to admit that it’s a thin free agent, and now trade, market for goaltenders and Bryz represents one of the only options that they may be able to afford.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out for the Oilers, as far as the Bryzgalov front is concerned. If they do eventually bring him in, they’d likely have done so with a plan in place as to how they plan to roll out a potential duo of him and Dubnyk. This is definitely a situation worth keeping an eye on.