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Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Reasons Why the Flyers Need to Trade Ilya Bryzgalov Now

Eddie RavertContributor IIDecember 28, 2011

Philadelphia Flyers: 5 Reasons Why the Flyers Need to Trade Ilya Bryzgalov Now

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    When Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, signed Ilya Bryzgalov this past offseason, the Flyers faithful thought their goalie woes were history.

    Little did they know the Bryzgalov experiment would prove to be a disaster in the first half of the 2011 regular season.  

    With the mammoth signing of the Russian goaltender, Flyers fans everywhere were predicting for a return to the Stanley Cup. What they were not expecting was a lazy and inconsistent net-keeper.

    Here are the five reasons why Bryzgalov must be traded (should he agree to waive his no-movement clause) sooner rather than later. 

No. 5: He Has Been Inconsistent Between the Pipes

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    The once dominant goalie has proven to be inconsistent during the 2011 season. While he can show signs of greatness, he shows more signs of terribleness.

    In his last four games he has allowed a total of 16 goals with a record of 0-4. Try to follow this slippery slope. He was a train wreck against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 17, allowing five goals before being pulled. He showed a modest effort against the Colorado Avalanche letting up two goals, despite the Flyers losing that game. Bryzgalov flopped against the New York Rangers, allowing four goals.

    Also, Bryzgalov showed signs of laziness and sluggishness against the Tampa Bay Lightening watching five more goals whiz by him to the back of the net.  

    To his credit, those are only his most recent four games played. However, he seems to go through phases where he either stops every shot faced or acts like he is waiting for a bus.

    It's no secret the Flyers have been struggling to find a franchise goalie since the days of Ron Hextall. Unfortunately, Bryzgalov is not that guy, just an overpaid bust.

No. 4: Bryz Is Not a Game Changer

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    When you think of goalies making a difference in a game, it's those who have shutouts after facing 30 shots or shut down the best team in the world like Jim Craig did for the 1980 US hockey team.

    Unfortunately, Bryz has only one shutout this season and has yet to step up in a big-time role for the Flyers.

    Goalie is a unique position because there is only one on the ice at a time. Therefore, goalies have the ability to see the entire game unfold right in front of them and direct the traffic. Bryzgalov does neither of those.

    Also, they can be serious game changers like Ryan Miller was for the U.S. last Olympics or like Tim Thomas was for the Bruins last playoffs. Bryzgalov just seems to go through the motions without a worry in the world.

    For him to be worth the nine-year, $51 million deal he signed with the Flyers, he has to be a game changer. He is failing to do so thus far.

No. 3: Stats Were Padded by a Great Defense in Phoenix

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    The Flyers had a desperate need for a goalie, so they went out and signed the best available and decided to pay him like a top goalie. However, many over look the fact that Bryzgalov had a stellar defense while on the Phoenix Coyotes.

    Protecting Bryzgalov were the likes of Keith Yandle and Derek Morris, two of the top defenseman in the league. They are the reason why Bryzgalov had great success and great numbers during his tenure in Phoenix.

    Now that Chris Pronger is out for the season, the Flyers defense is lacking the strength it once took great pride in.

    Without a good defense, Bryzgalov is useless. He can't see through players and often times doesn't even react when there is a shot on goal.

    Give Bryzgalov a phenomenal defense, and he is lights out. But then again, what NHL goalie wouldn't be lights out if he had a dynamite defense? 

No. 2: The Flyers Are Out-shooting Teams but Still Loosing

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    The Flyers have a total of 1,078 shots on goal this season. That ranks 14th in the NHL.

    Bryzgalov has seen 649 shots this season. Against the Lightning, he faced only 16 shots, but allowed five of them to go in. But against his old team earlier this season, he saw 38 shots and only let two in. Something isn't adding up.

    Maybe he needs to face more shots to be successful. If he is only seeing 16 shots, that gives him more time to think about the universe or other non-hockey related items that go through the goalies' mind (thanks to the new Flyers/Rangers special on HBO).

    The Flyers organization realizes it's Stanley Cup or bust this season especially with the stellar play of Claude Giroux and the surprising play of Jaromir Jagr and Kimmo Timonen. The pressure is high.

    Offensively, the Flyers seem to be on the right path. However, they need to clean things up on the defensive end, especially in the goalie department. 

No. 1: Trade Him Before Things Get Worse

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    Before you know it, no team is going to want to take a chance on this big, undeserved and overpaid contract. So the Flyers might as well trade him now while some teams probably still have hope in him.

    Bryz also lacks confidence in himself, which is not necessarily a great thing to confess to the public. After a 9-8 loss to the Winnipeg Jets earlier this season Bryzgalov said:

    I have zero confidence in myself right now, If you probably throw a ball instead of the puck, I’m not gonna stop it.

    Would you want your highly paid goalie to say that?

    He doesn't control his rebounds and acts like a potted plant in the net.

    He is the sixth highest paid goalie in the NHL, but is playing as dismal as it gets. I may be harsh on the fun-loving goalie, but his performance is not as dominant as I and Flyers fans expected it to be.

    It's time to see if the Flyers can get rid of him and give young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky a chance. Either way, Bryzgalov needs to step up his game. If his atrocious play continues, the boo birds will be relentless in the City of Brotherly Love. That is, if he isn't shipped off to some other team before then.

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