Philadelphia Flyers Bite the Bullet on Ilya Bryzgalov as Draft Nears

By Thomas Emerick
Ilya Bryzgalov
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

After months of speculation the Philadelphia Flyers went ahead and ripped off the band-aid. Best of luck to Ilya Bryzgalov in his future endeavors, but it just came to that painful point where he and the Flyers organization had to face the economics — and the latter had to buy out the last seven years of a deal.

“Obviously it’s a costly mistake that we made,” Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said, via The Associated Press. “You know Ilya, it’s hard to fault him. I still believe he played pretty good, but in a salary-cap world, you need to make decisions from time to time that put you in a better light moving forward and this is one of those. … What’s the sense of looking back? Today we look forward. I’m not going to look back. I admit it was a costly move, but we have to move forward. No sense looking back.”

Bryzgalov had made it through only two years of his $51 million deal and the buyout saves Philly $6 million per season against the cap.

“I think Ilya is a colorful guy,” Holmgren said. “Does he say things out of the blue sometimes? Absolutely, but I don’t think he’s any different than a lot of other players I have been associated with. I didn’t have an issue with that. This is strictly a business decision.”

The Russian netminder had gone 52-33-10 for a 2.61 goals-against average and .905 save percentage, and now hits upcoming free agency. Meanwhile, the Flyers have the potential to move Steve Mason into the starting spot and better plan for the upcoming draft.

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