The Philadelphia Flyers' busy Thursday continued when they signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a contract reportedly worth $51 million over nine years, not long after trading centers Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
The Flyers acquired the rights to negotiate exclusively with the 31-year-old goaltender from the Phoenix Coyotes last week, and they made sure they signed Bryzgalov before the free-agent signing period began July 1. Bryzgalov averaged 33 victories a season the past four seasons with the Coyotes.
About an hour before the Bryzgalov signing was first reported, the Flyers traded Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek and a first- and third-round pick in the 2011 draft and Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick. The Flyers were close to the salary cap ceiling, and those two blockbuster trades gave the Flyers the necessary money to lock up Bryzgalov.
During the past two seasons, the Flyers have lacked a bona fide No. 1 goaltender. The duo of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher found enough magic to push the Flyers to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, but rookie Sergei Bobrovsky and Boucher could only help the Flyers to the second round this season. Leighton made one start during the 2011 playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres.
Bryzgalov has reached the second round of the playoffs as a starting goaltender only once, in 2006 with the Anaheim Ducks. He was the team's backup when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007.