Infamous former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is looking for a return to the NHL
First of all, he didn’t seem to have much drive anymore. After crashing and burning so hard for the Philadelphia Flyers, but getting paid so much in his buyout to sit around and do nothing ($23 million), his desire to play and excel appeared to be completely gone.
Second, he played like crap when last seen in the league. His final NHL season was 2014-15, playing in 8 games for the Anaheim Ducks. He went 1-4-1 with an .847 save percentage.
Now seeing it from both Dave Isaac locally and the Hockey News nationally, I guess there is a good chance an NHL return could happen. His agent says that teams were “shocked” to hear Bryzgalov wanted to come back, but 6 teams expressed interest in his services. That’s more than I would’ve expected.
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Truly this is a strange time for the goalie market in the NHL. For one thing, the looming expansion draft next summer means teams with 2 goalies (Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay…etc.) are looking to move one guy. But you also have capable goalies like James Reimer being traded for only a 4th round pick this spring, and sitting on the free agent market this summer. Then, yesterday, Frederik Andersen fetched a very nice return for Anaheim.
For me, it’s hard to make sense of it all. I had previously looked at the goalie market from the perspective of the Flyers dealing Neuvirth, judging it unlikely. I will stick to that conclusion, but who knows now.
Bryzgalov is almost certainly looking at a backup role in the event of a return. Perhaps teams are willing to accept his foibles if he’s not being entrusted with starter duties.
It’s almost impossible not to have an opinion about Bryz. From his 24/7 ramblings as Mr. Universe above, to his “why you heff to be mad?” interview, to being the Phillly sports writers dream of a good quote, Bryzgalov has his share of baggage. Personally, I was very disappointing with him in Philly. Nevertheless, I still own and treasure this t-shirt.
A return to the NHL from Bryzgalov seems odd and somewhat unlikely. Surely there are safer options out there for NHL teams, but Bryzgalov may come very cheap. Either way, a weird goalie market in the NHL is due to get weirder and more colorful with Bryzgalov back on the scene.