As we near the end of July and the calendar turns to August, there are still a number of decent free agents to be had out on the market. One of those free agents is veteran goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who is still without a new deal after being bought out by Philadelphia.
We aren’t really sure what Bryzgalov’s current stance is on a new deal. Whether he wants to start, or he’ll accept a backup role with a club, or even he’ll just decide to call it quits and head back to Russia, all remains to be seen. But there is at least one team that should consider signing him.
That team is the Florida Panthers. The Cats appear to have their starting goaltender locked up for the upcoming season, in Jacob Markstrom. But behind him is only Scott Clemmensen, which could be bad news if anything were to happen to Markstrom, be it injury or meltdown.
Signing Bryzgalov would make some sense. It would give them stability in goal with a strong duo, and could help to push Markstrom to the level at which he needs to be in order to hang on to his starting spot. Nothing wrong with a little competition.
Of course, there are rumors about Bryzgalov not being the best guy around in the room, so perhaps having him around as a backup wouldn’t be ideal. But, again, he might be willing to accept a role as a backup, or at least sign a deal with a team that could promise him some competition to earn a role as a starter.
The Panthers could offer him either one. And if he’s willing to sit on the bench for at least half the year, and the money is right, the Panthers should absolutely be in on him. He’s a fit for them, and given their small market, it’s could be just the soft landing spot Bryzgalov needs after his rough go in Philly.