The Philadelphia Flyers have released a statement from GM Paul Holmgren, who said he informed Ilya Bryzgalov the club would exercise a compliance buyout of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, the most expensive mistake in Philadelphia Flyers history is about to be rectified, shedding Bryzgalov’s $5,666, 667 cap hit.
The official buyout period begins Wednesday, but teams can inform buyout candidates ahead of time of their intentions, as the Flyers did last week with Daniel Briere. Unlike Briere’s buyout, however, Bryzgalov’s won’t be met with sadness from Flyers fans.
Only two seasons into his expensive nine-year, $51-million contract, Bryzgalov failed to play up to expectations, as well as puzzling fans and pundits with his off-beat personality. Though his buyout won’t count against the Flyers cap, they still have to pay him two-thirds the remaining value over twice the remaining tenure (14 years). Fortunately, their ownership has the deep pockets to absorb it, but it remains a costly error on their part. It’s rumored Bryzgalov could play in the KHL next season.
Having made the decision to buy out Bryzgalov, the assumption is the Flyers will bring in another goalie via trade or free agency this summer. Holmgren did express interest in Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo earlier this season, but would he really dump one expensive goaltending contract to take on another one?
It’s also possible he could bring in an experienced backup to mentor Steve Mason, while using the additional cap space to add an affordable replacement for Briere and/or another experienced blueliner. Whatever happens, it’s apparent the Flyers are having yet another interesting off-season.