Flyers

Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal

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Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 4:55 p.m. Updated: 10:14 p.m.
By Sarah BaickerCSNPhilly.com
Really, it was only a matter of time.

After days of rumors, reports and denials, the Flyers have finally inked goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year deal worth 51 million.

Ilya is one of the top, upper-echelon goalies in the league, general manager Paul Holmgren said. In bringing him in, he does give us stability. We still have young guys we think a world of who can grow with our team. Well see how that goes. By adding Ilya and maintaining the defense we had last year, we think were in a good spot.

Though the actual deal doesn't come as a surprise the general sense from both the Flyers and Bryzgalov's agent Ritch Winter in recent days was that an eventual agreement was expected it is a bit heftier than the seven-year dear originally reported earlier this week.

Bryzgalov, according to CapGeek.com, will earn 10 million in the first year of the deal next season, making him, as of now, the highest paid player in the NHL.

And what the Flyers gave up to make the long-term deal possible Jeff Carter and Mike Richards came as a shock.

When we made the deal to get negotiating rights to Ilya, it put the wheels in motion with a lot of teams, Holmgren said. We fielded a lot of calls from teams over the last 10 days."

The newly 31-year-old Bryzgalov (his birthday was Wednesday) appeared in 68 games last season, posting a 2.48 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He had seven shutouts (the Flyers had none).

His postseason performance, however, did leave something to be desired. Bryzgalovs Phoenix Coyotes were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings, and Bryzgalovs goals-against average plummeted to 4.36.

Bryzgalov is a former runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, however (in 2009-10) and was the backup to J.S. Giguere in 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup. Hes played with both Chris Pronger and Sean ODonnell.

The Flyers acquired the rights to negotiate with Bryzgalov on June 7, sending left wing Matt Clackson, a third-round draft pick in 2012, plus another conditional pick to Phoenix.

The Flyers then began negotiations with the top-tier goalie in earnest, having until July 1 to strike a deal or else risk losing Bryzgalov to free agency Bryzgalov made just one trip to Philadelphia, but all along it appeared as though a deal were imminent.

When we acquired his rights we had every intention of signing him, Holmgren said.

The Flyers and Bryzgalov first held meetings on June 16. As recently as Wednesday of this week the Flyers said a deal with Bryzgalov was still a work in progress if not a while away but rumors that a seven-year deal worth about 7 million a year was to be expected.

The big question now, of course, is what happens to young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who will enter his sophomore year with the team.

Bobrovsky, 22, wowed the Flyers from the very beginning of last season, forcing them to keep him in the NHL instead of sending him to the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL to gain North American experience. Though his performance fell off a bit as the season progressed, and certainly did so in the playoffs, Bobrovsky proved he can play at a high level.

In addition, Bobrovsky and Bryzgalov are both Russian which could absolutely benefit Bobrovskys continued maturation and acclimation to the NHL.

But playing behind a veteran workhorse who can easily handle 60-plus games per season means Bobrovskys playing time would be drastically cut. Last year, his rookie year, he played in 54 games.

Will 20 or so games a season be enough to help Bobrovsky grow into the player the Flyers hope hell become? Or could Bob be the next Flyer offered up on the trading block?

We like him as a good young goalie in our league, Holmgren said. What it does to him, I am not sure. We like him. Our intention is to have him and Ilya as our goaltending tandem.

E-mail Sarah Baicker at sbaicker@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SBaickerCSN.
Related: Five questions that remain for the new-look Flyers A look at the three players acquired by the Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: Is this team convincing us in round robin of NHL playoffs?

Flyers Talk podcast: Is this team convincing us in round robin of NHL playoffs?

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra and Jordan Hall discuss the team's climb in the round robin.

From the Flyers' best line to what's ahead, let's dive in:

1:00 — Exciting times for Flyers fans

5:55 — Who has been the most impressive on the second line?

11:55 — Something we've noticed with the Flyers' first-line production

16:05 — Has this two-game stretch convinced us if we weren’t convinced already?

22:10 — What did we think of James van Riemsdyk being scratched? Big deal or no?

27:50 — Speaking of lineups, would we keep the same D pairs vs. the Lightning?

 33:00 — What we like and dislike about the Lightning matchup

 40:00 — The matchup could do a ton for Carter Hart's confidence

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Jakub Voracek out, James van Riemsdyk back and more changes as Flyers aim to win round robin

Jakub Voracek out, James van Riemsdyk back and more changes as Flyers aim to win round robin

With the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed up for grabs Saturday, the Flyers' No. 1 line will look differently and the reason for why is unknown.

What we do know is Jakub Voracek will not play in the Flyers' round-robin finale against the Lightning at Scotiabank Arena.

"He's not available," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Friday in a video interview, "that's all I can say for tomorrow."

As we learned during training camp when Voracek was absent from a scrimmage, there will be various levels of weirdness, uncertainty and inevitable speculation when a player is unavailable. Because of a mutual agreement between the NHL and NHLPA to respect an individual player's right to medical privacy during this time, clubs are not allowed to release specifications for any injuries/illnesses in the return-to-play 24-team tournament.

Naturally, time will tell about the severity of or length of time needed to return for Voracek's undisclosed absence.

Regardless, not having Voracek hurts the Flyers' chances to win the round robin. If the Flyers beat Tampa Bay, they'll secure the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs, which is slated to begin next Tuesday. If the Flyers lose to the Lightning, they'll settle for the No. 2 seed. The team has won its first two round-robin games by a combined score of 7-2 over the Bruins and Capitals.

Update: What Flyers fans need to know for round-robin finale, 1st-round matchups

When the Flyers started rolling in November of the regular season, Voracek was one of the club's best players. Since Nov. 1, the facilitating winger had 47 points (eight goals, 39 assists) and a plus-14 rating in 58 games. He finished the regular season with a team-best 44 helpers, 56 points and a plus-14 mark in 69 games.

"Jake's got a unique skill set, a veteran guy that's been around and has played in some big games," Matt Niskanen said Friday in a video interview. "We'll welcome him when he comes back. In the meantime, keep chugging forward with the guys we have."

The Flyers will chug forward with 20-year-old rookie winger Joel Farabee climbing to an exciting spot in the lineup. He'll play on the first line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier, while James van Riemsdyk will return to the lineup after being interestingly scratched for the Flyers' 3-1 win Thursday over the Capitals. Connor Bunnaman, a 22-year-old forward who will likely be an extra come the first round if the Flyers are healthy, played in van Riemsdyk's place.

"It was less about benching James than looking at the big picture," Vigneault said. "Yes, James had been OK, just OK so far, after having in my estimation a real strong training camp. But I wanted to get Joel in, I also wanted to get Bunny in at some point, and I felt with the opposition, that it was the right time. Probably less to do with benching, more to do with the big picture."

The 31-year-old van Riemsdyk will join the third line. Vigneault is known to communicate with his players when they're taken out of the lineup or there's a notable change. The two-time 30-goal scorer wouldn't disclose the message between the player and coach, but van Riemsdyk was positive Friday, taking everything in stride.

“With those types of conversations, generally like to keep those in-house," van Riemsdyk said.

“For me, I look back at my career and playing in the playoffs and all these things, I’ve had success doing that in the past. My approach is going to stay the same and try to be the best player I can be and maximize every day. That’s always the way I approach things no matter what, I love the game. We have a great team and have a great shot this year, so my motivation and approach remains consistent day in and day out. No matter if you have a day that doesn’t go your way or if you have a day where things are going well, you go to the next day and you have to do it all over again.”

On the defensive side of things, Shayne Gostisbehere will draw into the lineup for Robert Hagg. Vigneault and his coaching staff had wanted to get Gostisbehere some action in the round robin. They trust the 27-year-old defenseman who could give a boost to the Flyers' power play, which is 0 for 8 through the round robin. Expect to see Hagg back with Justin Braun when the first round begins.

Here is the Flyers' lineup for Saturday's round-robin finale:

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Derek Grant-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Connor Bunnaman-Nate Thompson-Tyler Pitlick

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

Sports Uncovered is on all podcast platforms: click here to subscribe now!

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Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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