The Philadelphia Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov Tuesday night (sending prospect Matt Clackson and a conditional third rounder), and talk has already surfaced about the Flyers being the next NHL dynasty. They would have one of the better number one goalies in the league, arguably the most complete defensive core in the league, and accounting in the expected loss of forwards to sign Bryzgalov, one of the better forward corps.
However, does it make them a modern-day dynasty?
To even my surprise, no, it doesn't make them a modern-day dynasty.
Names like Dan Carcillo, Sean O'Donnell, and most importantly Ville Leino are all in need of extensions, all coming off excellent seasons. So, how much would it cost to retain these three key pieces plus sign on Bryzgalov to the healthy contract he's seeking.
Well, what is 'Bryz' seeking? The consensus among all the rumors and reports is that the goaltender is looking for a five-year term, and anywhere in between $6 million and $7 million in annual salary.
The Flyers currently have just $3 million in cap space, before the re-signing of anybody.
Some expected salary dumping moves do not include many options. The easiest moves include demoting a contract or two. However, the only contract that GM Paul Holmgren is in position to demote is goaltender Michael Leighton's. That would boost the Flyers space to just over $4 million, yet still not enough.
That is why there have been realistic reports that the Flyers could be shopping a few of their larger contracts, most notably Jeff Carter, while other names like Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle are givens.
In essence, the Flyers will have to move two of those contracts, as just one would push them to around $8 million in cap space, just enough to retain Bryzgalov OR the Flyers' free agents, not nearly enough for both. So a second cap-clearing move would be needed, and it would have to boos them to around $14 million in space.
So, to get to the point of the article, does surrendering two of Jeff Carter, Kimmo Timonen, and Matt Carle, while adding Ilya Bryzgalov really make the Flyers that much better?
No, it doesn't, because the three need replacements and the only replacements the Flyers could afford would be bargain-basement types of contracts. Sure, it does make them a tad more complete, because they do have viable replacements that can bump up from the third line, but their overall team depth will be weakened. However, don't misinterpret what I'm saying, the move does make them better, just not to a dynasty-level.
To put it in perspective, you can look at the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins rosters. They certainly have their high-end forwards and their star goaltenders, but they aren't perfect; in fact, they are nowhere near it.
Yes, the signing of Bryzgalov would make the Flyers a better team, even at the expense of a few key players, but it won't make them an unstoppable force.