The Philadelphia Flyers have 10 days to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov or risk losing him on the opening day of NHL free agency July 1.
The Flyers acquired the negotiating rights to the 30-year-old Bryzgalov on June 7. Since then, he's been saying all the right things -- including how great it would be to bring a championship to Philadelphia. It certainly would behoove Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren if a deal were in place before the opening round of the 2011 Entry Draft on Friday. Or would it?
"We'd obviously like to get (a deal) resolved at some point, but I'm not sure it matters whether it's prior to the draft," Holmgren told the media via a conference call Monday. "There's still enough time after the Draft (four days) to get a deal done. The important thing is there's been progress made where we could get something worked out and I don't see why that won't continue. I don't have a crystal ball, so I can't really get into a definitive answer, but there's been enough progress that kind of gives me hope that we'd be able to make a deal at some time, but we'll see."
According to CSNPhilly.com, Bryzgalov's agent, Ritch Winter, might be seeking a five-year deal with a salary exceeding $5 million per season. The Flyers probably would prefer something in the seven-year range. According to Holmgren, the length of the contract and the dollars involved still are in the negotiating stage.
"We'll talk again (on Tuesday), so we'll see," Holmgren said. "We know where they're at and what they want to accomplish, and they know where we're at. In making this deal, there has to be come sort of compromise, but we'll keep working it out."
TSN has reported that the salary cap will increase to $64 million for 2011-12. Holmgren hasn't been notified when the new salary cap will be announced. Were the cap to stay at the same $59.4 million it was this past season, the Flyers would have less than $440,000 in cap space, according to CapGeek.com.
In addition to working out a deal with Bryzgalov, Holmgren said he also would like to re-sign Ville Leino, who will be an unrestricted free agent come July 1.
"Ville Leino is a player who I want to try to keep in our mix, so we'll have to do some tinkering, but right now I'm not thinking about moving people to create cap space," Holmgren said. "There's no fire sale going on here. We're going to try to continue to try sign Ilya and continue to try and sign Ville and then we'll see. It's not like we're caught between a rock and a hard place right now."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mike_morreale