Former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov may be signing with another team, but not in the NHL. Bryzgalov has finally gotten an offer from the newly formed KHL team, the Vladivostok Admirals.
It’s likely that Bryzgalov won’t go to the Admirals. For one, they don’t have the money to give him and the other factor is their location.
According to my Russian literature and film professor, in Russia people want to be in either Moscow or St. Petersburg; no one wants to stay in their hometown. The majority of the KHL teams are centered in and around Moscow, and since Vladivostok is on the border with North Korea and China, it would basically be like playing in the middle of nowhere.
So, Bryzgalov is most likely not going to sign with this team, but why should Flyers fans care so much about where he goes?
If Bryzgalov does not go over to the KHL, the Flyers will need to be concerned if he signs with a division rival. As much as Flyers fans knock Bryzgalov for some major misses in net, he did start in net for the majority of their games last season and showed key goaltending skills early on. Had it not been for the salary cap or his absurd contract, the Flyers probably would have kept him on to pit him against Steve Mason for the starting position.
Like Danny Briere’s buyout, the organization bought out Bryzgalov due to his contract weighing them down with cap space. It may also have to due with him being a distraction to the team, but he definitely was released because his talents did not match his salary.
So will he sign with the KHL? It is possible, if another big name KHL team wants him, perhaps not with one of the new expansion divisions.
Bryzgalov and his outspoken agent are more likely to wait until an NHL team wants to sign him, but he’s also in competition with Tim Thomas, who is a free agent goalie of a more elite standing that wants to return to the league.