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Phoenix Coyotes claim goaltender Ilja Bryzgalov off waivers from Anaheim @NHLdotcom

PHOENIX - Ilja Bryzgalov got his wish.

The Phoenix Coyotes claimed the 27-year-old goaltender off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Bryzgalov has long hoped for a chance to be a No. 1 goaltender and he's likely to get it in Phoenix, where Alex Auld and Mikael Tellqvist have been splitting starts for the struggling Coyotes.

"We are very happy for Ilya," said Ducks GM Brian Burke. "He's a great kid who deserves a chance to be a starting NHL goaltender. We thank him for all he has accomplished in a Ducks uniform, and we wish him well with Phoenix."

It will certainly feel like a change of scenery. Bryzgalov was part of the Ducks team that won the Stanley Cup last year and now joins a young squad that is rebuilding.

He is 2-3-1 this season and 26-23-8 for his NHL career - all with Anaheim.

"We are excited to bring in a world class goaltender with a Stanley Cup on his resume," said Coyotes GM Don Maloney. "At 27 years old, he is just entering his prime and we look forward to having him in our lineup."

Bryzgalov became expendable in Anaheim when the Ducks signed Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller last spring. Hiller, who has been with Portland of the AHL, will now serve as the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The deal also frees up some salaray cap room for Anaheim.

Bryzgalov is earning US$1.36 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. Hiller is earning $850,000, which will save about $500,000 for the Ducks.

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