Ilya Bryzgalov and Teams That May Be Interested in His Services
Everyone following the Flyers knows that the extremely mediocre play of Ilya Bryzgalov has become a storyline. Of course, the driving force behind the storyline is the incredible play of sophomore goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
It has become clear that the Flyers locker room is not happy with Ilya Bryzgalov's quirky personality, or his relationship with the media. The team also clearly plays better defense for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
With Bobrovsky's incredible play thus far, the Flyers might want to consider trading Ilya Bryzgalov to a team in need of a goaltender of his stature.
(Note: I personally would be against any trade shipping out Bryzgalov this early.)
Columbus Blue Jackets
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The Columbus Blue Jackets seem, at first glance, to be a pretty good fit for Ilya Bryzgalov. The Blue Jackets are suffering due to poor goaltending from Steve Mason, who as recently as last year was considered a franchise player. He and Curtis Sanford have combined to give the Blue Jackets the worst record in the NHL this season, and a proven goaltender like Bryzgalov might be able to right the ship.
Also, Bryzgalov is more accustomed to playing in a city with a low interest in hockey. Playing in Columbus would give him the anonymity he might need to play at the high level at which he usually plays.
I must note that Curtis Sanford has played well thus far, but he isn't proven, and his stats, while good, are still only average at best.
The Blue Jackets don't have much cap space, so a trade would require significant money coming back to offset the addition of Bryzgalov's salary. Perhaps Jeff Carter for Bryzgalov and a second or third rounder?
Tampa Bay Lightning
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It's been highly documented that Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman made a serious mistake this offseason by not going after any goaltending and instead choosing to stick with the aged Dwayne Roloson as his starting goalie.
Trading for Ilya Bryzgalov would give the Bolts their starting goaltender for at least five seasons, and with the talent they have on the Lightning, they would be a shoo-in for the playoffs for years to come.
It's also worth noting that Tampa Bay has the worst combined goals-against average in the league so far this season. Even worse than the previously mentioned Columbus Blue Jackets.
Again, this would also benefit Bryzgalov, as Tampa Bay isn't the biggest hockey town there is, and he could once again play in a bit of an anonymous role.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have three million dollars of cap space left, so a bit of money would have to go back to Philadelphia for this trade to work. Something like Eric Brewer and a second-round pick could seal the deal.
Toronto Maple Leafs
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This is a highly doubtful scenario, but Ilya Bryzgalov would be a good fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs are getting average, if not sub-par, goaltending this year from Jonas Gustavsson and James Reimer. Reimer, the starter, has also had the misfortune of being injured for much of this season. He also hasn't lived up to his impossible standards set last season.
Trading for Ilya Bryzgalov would give the Maple Leafs a goaltender to rely on. He may also be somewhat well recieved for his outspoken nature, and could boost the play of the struggling Toronto defense corps.
Toronto is right up against the cap, so a trade would see a significant salary coming the Flyers' way. Mike Komisarek and a few high draft picks could work. A blockbuster involving Luke Schenn in some way could also work.
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The Calgary Flames are another team who could benefit from the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flames currently have Miikka Kiprusoff minding the net, and he is overworked to a ridiculous extent.
With no big prospects in net, the Flames should consider looking at a trade for Ilya Bryzgalov. With Kiprusoff and Bryzgalov in net, they would be a force to be reckoned with.
The Flames have a cap-hit near the ceiling, so a trade would see big money going both ways. A trade I would propose would be something like Ilya Bryzgalov and Sean Couturier for Jarome Iginla. A bit of a loss on the Flyers side, but the reward could be worth it.
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The Edmonton Oilers are a team who may be a good match for Ilya Bryzgalov. They currently have Devan Dubnyk and Nikolai Khabibulin in net, and the team hasn't done great with this combo. While the Oilers started out strong, they have definitely struggled as of late, due at least in some part to the bad play of their goaltenders.
Ilya Bryzgalov would come in and be somewhat of a calming presence on a team loaded with great young players. The defense could relax, as they would have a goaltender who has experience, but also a goaltender who is still able-bodied.
The Oilers have some cap space and a trade could be easily worked out. Perhaps some package consisting of Theo Peckham and another player with a similar salary could seal the deal.