After speculation surfaced earlier in the day that they were in line to acquire Martin Brodeur from the New Jersey Devils, and rumors continued regarding a possible trade with the Buffalo Sabres for Jaroslav Halak, the Minnesota Wild did acquire a goaltender on Tuesday by sending a fourth-round pick to the Edmonton Oilers for Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov saw action in 20 games for the Oilers this season, with a 5-8-5 record, a 3.01 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. He was a two-time All-Star (2010 and 2011) during his time with the Phoenix Coyotes, but after a dismal two-year stint with the Philadelphia Flyers his value around the league has taken a significant downturn at age 33.
Darcy Kuemper is now the unquestioned starting goalie for the Wild over the rest of the season, and perhaps beyond if he continues to perform well down the stretch as the team looks to bolster their playoff seed. Bryzgalov will become an unrestricted free agent after the season, so his stint as Minnesota’s No. 2 goaltender looks likely to be short-lived, and that impending free agency surely made him an appealing trade target for a lot of teams ahead of Wednesday’s trade deadline.
All things considered, Bryzgalov looks like a very good fit for the Wild. They needed an experienced and healthy backup for Kuemper for the rest of this season, and while his name does not carry the cachet Brodeur’s does the price to get Bryzgalov was surely right. Add in the lack of a required financial commitment beyond the end of the season, and the Wild have made an excellent acquisition as long as Bryzgalov can perform well when called upon.