WE GOT HIM!
Well, his signing rights anyway. But you all knew that. Now the question is; Do we sign him, and at what cost?
Not just the cost of his contract - which may potentially be in the realm of $6Million a season for 5-years - but who we'd have to give up or not re-sign in order to employ the Tolyatti, Russian native between the pipes.
Beat writers and fans alike discuss that if Bryzgalov were to dress in the Bully Orange & Black, it means the waving of goodbye to FA's Ville Leino, Andreas Nodl, and Daniel Carcillo. Then there's the possible movements of Kris Versteeg, Matt Carle, Scott Hartnell (assuming we somehow convince him to waive his NTC on his contract) and...DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNN.....
First off, we're not dealing Carter. So that doesn't worry me. Leino, Harts, 'Steegs and Carle? Where do I sign?
People are worried we'd be giving up way too much to sign Bryz, and concerned with what it means for Sergei Bobrovsky. My opinion is that none of that matters. We've spent the past 36-calendar years without the Stanley Cup making nest in Philadelphia. We've got about as close as it gets on several occasions but haven't been able to finish.
At best, we've had questionable goaltending since Ron Hextall's services between the pipes. It's been the same song for a long, long time. And being the wonderfully proud organization that the Flyers are....most deem that drought unacceptable. As do I.
If you're truly frightened about what it takes to sign Bryzgalov, then I ask you; What's the worst that can happen? We don't win the Cup? We make the Playoffs and have an early exit?
What's changed then?
This could also save our front office some face considering they have finally gone after and signed a true #1 netminder. Something this city's been screaming for from the mountain tops since well before my days of puberty.
Ilya has already swooned our media mentioning "It's time" to get the Cup back to Philadelphia, and he'd be "honored" to be a piece of the puzzle that gets our roster's names back on Lord Stanley once more. The man's determined. He believes in our organization. He wants the big bucks and I believe he's worth that.
"But what about his crappy performances in the Playoffs?!? Huh, Mike? HUUUH!!!"
Oh, you mean when he was playing for the friggin' Phoenix Coyotes? A team with more drama behind its ownership than a pimp on the Red Light District? A squad with about as much motivation over the years as a pothead on his couch with a box of peanut butter-filled pretzel bites?
Surely Bryzgalov cannot be as bad as what we had this last Playoff run, which could be described using the damn Benny Hill theme as background music.
"Leighton got us there before! He can do it again!"
You're an ass.
Michael Leighton was a flash in the pan. Lightning caught in a bottle.
Point is, we have the signing rights of a great, 30-year old puck stopping machine. A rarity in Philadelphia. Sort of like truffles served to a family living in an African hut, or a moment of sanity for Gary Busey. For some reason, these instances don't come-a-knockin' every day.