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Friday, June 24, 2011

Flyers Sign Ilya Bryzgalov to Nine-Year Contract

The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Thursday that they have signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract worth $51 million. The announcement came on the same day that the team made a pair of blockbuster trades, sending Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings, in order to get the 31-year-old netminder signed to a long-term deal. The contract will average out to $5.67 million per season. He would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to Bryzgalov on June 7 from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Matt Clackson, Philadelphia's third round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft, and a conditional draft pick. In 68 games last season with the Coyotes, Bryzgalov posted a 36-20-10 record, seven shutouts, a 2.48 GAA, and a .921 save percentage. It's not a bad signing for the Flyers, as Bryzgalov will give the team the solid starting goaltender they have been seeking for a few seasons now. He will bring lots of veteran depth, size, and talent in goal for the team. However, the contract is a bit lengthy and it cost Philadelphia their top two forwards to facilitate the signing. They would have been better off signing Bryzgalov to an affordable short-term contract to see if he would work out with the team and move some other more expendable players rather than Richards and Carter. The team likely won't be as strong offensively next season as they were in 2010-11, as Simmonds and Voracek won't replace the offensive output of Richards and Carter. However, given the young talent received in the two trades, the Flyers could be a strong team again offensively in just a couple seasons.

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