- Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: 5 reasons to let Ilya Bryzgalov go:
1. The goalie’s zany personality can be a distraction to his teammates. To restore order, buy him out and use his annual cap hit ($5.7 million) to sign/acquire a quality winger or puck-moving defenseman.
2. The buyout is expensive, but it can be spread over 14 years (twice the remaining length of his contract). If you average it out, it’s $1.6 million per year.
3. Cutting ties with Bryzgalov would send a confidence-building message to Mason: You are our guy.
4. In his brief time here, Mason seems to have developed a quick rapport with goalie coach Jeff Reese, who has tweaked the goalie’s game by moving him back in the crease to utilize his 6-foot-4 frame. Mason seems to exude confidence.
5. Even though he has already played five seasons, Mason is just 24. Goalies have been known to bloom later in their careers. (See Parent, Bernard). In addition, Mason is more athletic than Bryzgalov, better at steering a puck to a teammate to start a rush, and better at stopping breakaways.
5 reasons to keep Bryzgalov:
1. By having Bryzgalov and Mason, the goalies would push each other in an attempt to win the starting job.
2. A more-than-capable backup would be waiting in the wings in case of an injury to the starter.
3. Money. To buy out Bryzgalov, the Flyers would have to pay him $23 million – two-thirds of the remaining seven years ($34.5 million) on his contract.
4. Teams are allowed a total of two buyouts over the next two offseasons. If Mason wins the job and regains his rookie-of-the-year form from 2008-09, the Flyers can always buy out Bryzgalov next year. If Mason struggles, then Bryzgalov is an attractive option.
5. Keeping Bryzgalov would be a reward of sorts for his workhorse season. He is not the reason the Flyers have failed to make the playoffs.
- Craig Custance of ESPN: Flyers GM Paul Holmgren:
“It’s the evaluation process you go through this time of year whether you’re in the playoff race or not, it’s a daily thing,” Holmgren said. “Once the season ends, you have conversations with everybody. Even when you’re in the playoffs, you’re talking to other teams about what they might be looking to do in the summertime. You’re busy with your amateur guys preparing your draft list. It doesn’t stop.”
Injuries took their toll on the blue line, but allowed for the development of guys like Luke Schenn and Erik Gustafsson. There really isn’t an urgency to buyout Bryzgalov, and if they are going to buy him out, it may be better to wait until the end of next year.
- Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Daniel Briere may be playing his last home game in Flyers uniform tonight. He is expected to be bought out or traded this offseason due to his $6.5 million salary cap hit.
“I’m not thinking about that….Things change fast in the hockey world,” the always-classy Briere said after Wednesday’s practice at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. “For me, it’s just another game. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. I can’t start thinking about all those rumors. It’s just like at the trade deadline. If you start getting into that trap, it gets you off your game.”
“Everybody knows I want to stay here,” said Briere, who has two years left on his contract, “but it’s a business and I also understand that part.”