35-Year-Old Goalie – Free Agent
Ilya Bryzgalov Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in February 2015.
Bryzgalov was placed on unconditional waivers by the Ducks on Thursday for the purpose of his release, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
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Ilya Bryzgalov: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Bryzgalov’s first year in Philly was considered by many to be a disappointment; it was riddled with occasionally spotty play and unyielding media coverage caused by The Universe opening his mouth too much. He posted 33 wins, seven shutouts and a .909 save percentage; his lowest in two years and many blamed the Flyers’ postseason collapse on his poor play, although he received little help in the club's second-round loss to New Jersey. Bryzgalov is still an elite goalie and the Flyers’ management was confident enough to sign him through 2020. One thing is for sure; this season the starting spot is his to lose and he is certainly worth a look afte the premier netminders have been snagged. Bryzgalov had some strong stretches, most notably in March of last year where he earned NHL player of the month honors.
The Flyers' signature move of the offseason involved Bryzgalov, whose signing brings the veteran $51 million and a heap of expectations and pressure. Bryzgalov earned his payday by being in the league's top-10 in wins (36) save percentage (.921) and shutouts (7) for the Coyotes a year ago. The Flyers have experienced backups in Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton, but there's no doubt that Bryzgalov will work between the pipes on a regular basis. He's used to the workload, having played in at least 65 games in each of the past three seasons with Phoenix.
Bryzgalov became one of the elite goaltenders in 2009-10 because without him, the Coyotes would have never made it to the first round of the playoffs. Last season, the Russian netminder posted a 42-20-6 record and was second in the league in shutouts with eight, behind Martin Brodeur. The Coyotes were able to play solid defense in front of Byrzgalov as he faced less than 30 shots per night. In doing so, he had a .920 save percentage and a 2.29 GAA. For 2010-11, he will have to post the same kind of numbers if he wants to make a return trip to the playoffs. Based on what we've seen from Bryzgalov to this point, keeping that high level of performance is just another day at the office.
Bryzgalov is an absolute warrior, and proved it last season for Phoenix. With the playoffs out of reach, the Russian backstop continued to go out there night upon night and face a ton of shots. Even still, Bryzgalov led the league in losses with 31, and has a bunch of offensive-minded defenders playing in front of him. There's no reason to expect that Bryzgalov won't see another season with a heavy workload each night. Even with a high save percentage, he'll continue to give up three goals a night, and the offense in the desert has not proven itself dependable enough to score more goals a night than Bryzgalov gives up. Of all the starting goaltenders in the league, Bryzgalov should be one of the last ones left on the shelf in most drafts because of the inconsistent young squad in front of him.
Last season, acquiring Bryzgalov through waivers sped up the development of the Coyotes' franchise. He immediately made an impact and learned how to be a number one goaltender. Now that he will be with the team for the entire season, there will be no question mark at the goalie position. Bryzgalov is a quality netminder and had a solid season with a 2.44 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He could easily become a value pick in any fantasy league.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere is out to start the year, so Bryzgalov will get a significant amount of playing time to start the season. Expect Bryzgalov to earn a No. 1 job some time this year, however it will probably not be in Anaheim. While the most likely scenario is that he'll be traded for some offensive firepower during the season, as Teemu Selanne and Dustin Penner are no longer in Orange County.
Bryzgalov had a decent 2005-06 backing up J-S Giguere, going 13-12-1 with a .910 save percentage and ended up getting many of the Ducks' playoff starts. However, it's likely head coach Randy Carlyle will platoon Giguere and Bryzgalov, so picking Bryzgalov as a number-one netminder is a dicey proposition.
Bryzgalov, who could turn out to be a solid goalie in the future, may not come back to the Ducks this season if the club doesn't work out a long-term deal before the season begins. If Bryzgalov comes to camp, he could create an interesting threat to J.S. Giguere -- he wouldn't supplant Giggy as the No. 1 goalie, but he would certainly take away some starts. Stay tuned to see if he comes back to North America before Oct. 5.