Late Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the Phoenix Coyotes have traded the rights to unrestricted free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Matt Clackson, a 2012 third-round-draft-pick, and future considerations.
On July 1, Bryzgalov becomes an unrestricted free agent and any NHL team can talk to the 30-year-old, but between now and the start of NHL free-agency on July 1, the Flyers are the only team allowed to negotiate a deal with Bryzgalov.
The Russian goaltender is coming off a three-year-deal in which he earned $12.75 million over the three years. Bryzgalov made it clear that he wanted big money from the Coyotes if they wanted to lock the goalie up long term.
After coming to the conclusion the two sides could not reach a deal the Coyotes pulled the trigger on the trade.
In 68 games last season with the Coyotes, Bryzgalov posted a 36-20-10 record with a 2.38 goals against average and added seven shutouts.
The move makes perfect sense for the Flyers, a team that has struggled with goaltender problems for many years.
With the Flyers close to the NHL salary cap ceiling and Bryzgalov looking for big money, the Flyers may be forced to trade away some top players to clear cap space.
Jeff Carter is the candidate most likely to be on the move if the Flyers chose this route. Carter’s newest deal with the Flyers begins this upcoming season, an 11 year deal worth $58 million, with an annual cap hit of $5.3 million.
With the goaltending situation possibly finally solved,the Flyers may be pegged as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference next season, but I’m sure the Bruins will have something to say about that.