Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Yes, it’s important to have a good goaltender, but Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract is an overreaction to Philadelphia’s recent playoff failures.
Bryzgalov is a proven winner, but so was Jean-Sebastian Giguere, right up until the moment when Bryzgalov stole his job.
Netminders are a volatile bunch. I don’t expect that Bryzgalov will suddenly lose his touch, but it’s not out of the question.
Who’s to say that some other goalie may not come out of nowhere and be the Bryzgalov to his Giguere?
No position has been impacted more by the international expansion of hockey than goaltender. It seems every season some young Finn, Swede, or Russian bursts on to the NHL scene.
Of course, it’s impossible to predict where and when these new talents will emerge, but the fact remains that there are plenty of capable goalies still out there.
Even knowing all of that, the Flyers gave a nine-year contract to a player who’s already 31 years old. Given the widespread rumors surrounding some of these long deals, it’s fair to question whether Bryzgalov will play out the entire length of this contract, but no matter what, he’s sure to be pulling a premium salary well into his late thirties.
The Philadelphia Flyers overreacted to their problem, spending most of their available resources to plug the largest hole in their lineup. It might work out, but if it doesn’t, their $51 million mistake will drag the Broad Street Bullies down for nearly a decade.