If people in Philadelphia have their way Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will be trading in his brick red, desert sand and black for the orange and black of the Flyers. Like we said, ‘if’ Philly fans have their way.
On PhillyDailySports.com, a Philadelphia sports media site, the writer who coves the Flyers is banging the drum loudly in hopes someone is listening to his desire to see Bryz in the city of brotherly love.
With their need for a bona fide starting goaltender listed as top priority in the offseason for the Flyers, all eyes shifted immediately to Phoenix Coyotes backstop Ilya Bryzgalov, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The likelihood of this being anything more than an Internet rumor in which a writer pairs a free agent with a team in need of a solid player at that position — think (insert quarterback name here) to the Arizona Cardinals — seems slim to none.
With that said, the piece does pose one interesting question that Coyotes fans should be concerned about. Will the team’s lack of ownership cost them the chance to re-sign their star goalie?
After three solid seasons as the netminder in Phoenix, Bryzgalov will be seeking a lucrative deal. He’s already stated his willingness to return to his home country and play in the KHL if the franchise moved to Winnipeg but what financially would it take for him to leave a team remaining in Glendale?
Bryzgalov made $4.5 million last season and finished as one of the top goalies, during the regular season, in the league. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to imagine he may ask for a million or two more. The problem is, the highest paid player on the team is Ed Jovanoski at $6 million. Shane Doan, the captain and face of the franchise, is only making $4.55 million. Without the ownership issue being resolved before free agency begins, it’s hard to believe that the Coyotes will be allowed by the league to break the bank for him while they’re footing the bill.
The ownership saga has become messy and Bryzgalov could become its next casualty. That is unless general manager Don Maloney can make one heck of a save and keep his goalie in Arizona.