According to Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet, Ilya Bryzgalov is seeking a seven year, $50 million contract from the Flyers. In response, Elliotte Friedman of CBC stated that he “heard [the cap hit] will be around $7 million”.
Now, obviously these are rumors. But two journalists from separate news organizations have stated that the Flyers are ready to offer Ilya Bryzgalov a $7 million contract that runs to the end of the decade. This would make Bryzgalov the highest paid goalie in the NHL (behind NY Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist at $6.875 million) and one of the top-20 highest paid players in the NHL. Simply put, that’s a huge contract that will be very difficult to earn.
If true, what that move means for the Flyers roster is yet to be determined. But it certainly means the Jeff Carter rumors are back on the table, even with the $4.6 million increase in the salary cap. It also means that the Flyers will need to make difficult decisions about what those salary dumps are worth in a trade market, after tipping your hand.
Whether or not Bryzgalov is worth $7 million depends on your perspective. Ed Snider thinks he is, therefore a lot of people will agree. But as J.P. of Japers’ Rink pointed out, Bryzgalov hasn’t been that much better than his backups in Phoenix over the last three years. In terms of even-strength save percentage over those three years, Bryzgalov stopped 0.92587% while his primary backups stopped 0.92589%. Yes, the primary backups to Bryzgalov in Phoenix (Jason LaBarbera and Mikael Tellqvist) stopped a higher percentage of even-strength shots.
Obviously, there are caveats to that fact. Bryzgalov played a lot more minutes, faced a lot more shots, and almost certainly faced a lot stiffer competition. That doesn’t mean LaBarbera and Tellqvist are as good as Bryzgalov. However, it does show that the Coyotes defense was quite good, since they can show Jason LaBarbera as an above-average NHL goalie – and an elite NHL backup – on the level of Bryzgalov.
It also shows that Ilya Bryzgalov is not a $7 million goalie. Unless you value 65 game goalies at roughly $5 million, regardless of how much better than the $1.25 million backup they are.
[Note by JasonB, 06/22/11 2:27 PM EDT ] For what it's worth, Tim Panaccio is reporting that the Flyers are denying these reported figures.