NHL Trade Speculation: Could Flyers Trade Ilya Bryzgalov for Rick Nash?

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIFebruary 20, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 5: Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers and Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets watch the game action in the third period at the Wells Fargo Center on November 5, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

"I think you care too much."—Ilya Bryzgalov on Flyers fans.

CrossingBroad.com uncovered a story regarding Philadelphia's maligned goaltender and his exchange with a fan that took place at the recent Flyers Wives Carnival.

Basically, a fan told Bryzgalov that Philadelphia is a great place to play and wished him luck for the rest of the season. That's when Bryzgalov said what is quoted above.

This comes just days after Bryzgalov said he thinks it's "easy to find a scapegoat" when he is blamed for the Flyers' woes.

He told reporters, "I will try to find peace in my soul to play in this city."

As if universe's play wasn't bad enough for his relationship with the fans, the man with the humongous big contract is finding ways to get more catcalls to rain down on his crease.

Bryzgalov's apparent disaster at handling life in a real hockey market comes just a week before the NHL's trade deadline.

It comes at a time when several NHL general managers are rumored to have interest in Rick Nash, a star sniper from the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported (h/t Sporting News) that the Kings and Rangers are in the lead for Nash, but that the Flyers are wary of the Jackets' asking price.

Eklund of HockeyBuzz.com speculated that, "The Flyers may be interested in a Nash/Mason combo package...of course, in order for that deal to be made the jackets would have to take Bryzgalov."

If Mason disappoints, the Flyers can let him walk after next season.
If Mason disappoints, the Flyers can let him walk after next season.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Steve Mason, the Columbus goaltender, has had a season even worse than Bryzgalov's. However, he once led the NHL in shutouts and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.

It is unknown whether Mason could turn his career around if he were to come to the Flyers. If he can't, Philadelphia only has to deal with him through the end of next season, when his current contract runs out.

The deal makes sense for both Philadelphia and Bryzgalov.

The Flyers would be able to rid themselves of the huge contract and a player who can't come through for the tough city. Bryzgalov would be comfortable in Columbus, one of the NHL's worst markets.

Blue Jackets fans don't care too much like the rabid orange circus of Broad Street.

Obviously, Bryzgalov alone will not be enough for Nash and Mason. The Flyers would need to give up a great prospect and clear enough cap space to make room for Nash and Mason's salaries ($7.8 million and $2.9 million, respectively).

The 20-year-old rookie Brayden Schenn carries a $3.1 million cap hit, the sixth-most of any Flyers forward.

Above him are Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr. It is very unlikely any of them would be traded.

On the defensive side, the most likely to be traded is upcoming free agent Matt Carle. His cap hit is $3.43 million, an amount that is sure to raise this offseason.

The Flyers may be without Carle next season anyway.
The Flyers may be without Carle next season anyway.Nick Laham/Getty Images

Bryzgalov, Schenn and Carle should be more than enough for Nash and Mason.

Schenn is one of the NHL's top prospects, Carle is a top-four defender and Bryzgalov is capable of being on of the NHL's top 10 goalies when his brain is working effectively.

The Flyers trade away $12.2 million in cap space while taking on $10.7 million.

The team loses a center (which they have five of anyway, including Max Talbot), adds a left-winger. They exchange a goalie for a goalie, and lose a defenseman.

To replace Carle, the Flyers simply have to recall Marc-Andre Bourdon. Bourdon played 39 games with the team this season before being sent to the AHL upon the arrival of Pavel Kubina.

The Flyers do not need scoring. However, they have fixed their issues on defense by adding shut-down men. Their biggest remaining concern is Bryzgalov's ineffective play and his $51 million contract.

The greatest benefit of this trade for Philadelphia may be getting rid of Bryzgalov more so than it is adding one of the league's top scorers.

Columbus should like the deal as well if they are able to dump Mason while picking up a new goaltender and a top prospect.

This would be a very big trade deadline blockbuster, but if Bryzgalov does not care enough to win in Philadelphia, the Flyers need to get rid of him any way they can.


B/R Featured Columnist Jason Sapunka is available on Twitter.