Today, I can officially lift my self-imposed no NHL embargo because the NHL and the NHLPA finally came to their senses (with the help of federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh). It sure feels good, and now the speculation can begin.
Probably the most intriguing part of this new Collective Bargaining Agreement, aside from the length (10 years with an opt out at 8) is the addition of two salary cap compliance buyouts for each club. The teams will not be able to use the buyouts, which will allow them to essentially void two contracts to achieve compliance with the salary cap, until after this upcoming season, but before the next season. Teams will be responsible to pay the player 2/3 of the remainder of their contract value but it will not count against the salary cap.
The most glaring opportunity for the Flyers to use the buyout is clearly Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9-year $51 million contract before last season to finally bring stability to the goaltending position that had long plagued the Flyers. Bryzgalov did little to stabilize the position. In fact, he was lightning rod for controversy. In the month leading up to last year’s Winter Classic showdown with the Rangers, Bryzgalov achieved worldwide notoriety with his quirky comments shown on HBO’s 24/7. He had already been making quirky comments to the local press from nearly the moment he rode into town.
While seemingly reveling in his celebrity, Bryzgalov’s play began to dip and had never really been all that stellar to begin with. By the time the Classic rolled around, Bryz was benched.
He rebounded late in the season with a remarkable two month stretch of play that had the Flyers faithful feeling like he was finally the goalie they had hoped. Then the playoffs came, and Bryz looked like Swiss cheese. Bryz failed to turn in any dominating performances, and again the fans soured. You can’t win a Cup without a dominant goalie.
So now the temperamental goalie will probably have one more year with the team to prove he can be the man. If he has another season like last year, the Flyers may look to go in another direction at goaltender. If Bryz can step up and be the man, then that will go a long way toward helping the Flyers capture that long elusive Stanley Cup. As entertaining as Bryz is, I’m hoping he can be the man and stay around a while.
Eagles lose again as Reid dials up the run
Phillies on a limited budget? Trade for Revere a good business move
Replacing Bynum, would Greg Oden be a good fit for the rest of the season?
Soriano to Phillies, the last big move?
How would Vernon Wells help the Phillies?