It was hard not to wonder what the heck was going on when rumors surfaced Tuesday that the Capitals were interested in Ilya Bryzgalov.
If they’re going to get him, it’ll now have to be July 1 or later – and only if things don’t work out with the Flyers, who acquired the goaltender’s rights Tuesday evening. Philadelphia – which has had goalie drama for roughly the last 150 years (OK, a dozen) – has exclusive negotiating rights with Bryzgalov after dealing a 2012 third-rounder, prospect Matt Clackson and a conditional pick to the Coyotes.
Several reports indicated that Bryzgalov and his agent, Ritchie Winter, had high demands of Phoenix. In regard to actually signing the goalie, general manager Paul Holmgren said, “Well, we’re gonna give it our best shot.”
“We didn’t make this trade to acquire his rights just to hang around, we’re going to try our best to get him signed,” the GM said.
For the Caps, Bryzgalov would not have made much sense given the depth they have in goal. Even if Semyon Varlamov goes to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, they have Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby.
A few hours north, the Flyers will try to solidify their situation. Sergei Bobrovsky showed good form as a rookie, and Caps goalie coach Arturs Irbe is a believer in the 22-year-old despite his less-than-ideal playoff performance.
Holmgren said he’s still a believer too, calling him “one of the top young goalies in our game.” Still, the Flyers traded for Bryzgalov’s negotiating rights to “get better” and contend for their first Stanley Cup since 1975.
With Bryzgalov possibly demanding upwards of $4 million a year and the salary cap unclear, it’s still a what-if situation.
“If we do [sign him], I think we’ll have one of the best goaltending tandems in the league,” Holmgren said. “I feel confident saying that.”
Confidence and Flyers goaltending – two things that don’t usually go together.