Flyers GM Paul Holmgren issued the following statement with regards to goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
“I met with Ilya this morning and informed him that we are going to exercise a compliance buyout of his contract. This was a very difficult business decision to make for us and we want to thank Ilya for his time here and wish him all the best moving forward.”
The Flyers are buying out Ilya Bryzgalov, who had an up-and-down two seasons with the team and had a sometimes-contentious relationship with coach Peter Laviolette.
The Flyers will have to pay him $23 million (two-thirds of the $34 million left) over 14 years, or $1.6 million per year. They cannot officially buy him out until 11 p.m. Wednesday.
"It's obviously a costly mistake," said general manager Paul Holmgren, who is attempting to sign star center Claude Giroux to a long-term deal. He called it a "very difficult" decision, but that it was done for cap flexibility.
It is the largest buyout in NHL history, according to capgeek.com.
With the buyout, the Flyers will have nearly $4.2 million cap space. They will have about about $9.1 million when Chris Pronger goes on the long-term injured list at the start of the season.
The decision was made "strictly for cap flexibility," said Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor. That said, Bryzgalov had become a locker room distraction with his odd comments.
For months, Ilya Bryzgalov has acted like an athlete who didn't particularly want to stay in Philadelphia.
And now, he won't have to.
The Flyers on Tuesday announced they will buy out Ilya Bryzgalov's contract. What remains of the goaltender's nine year, $51 million deal will be officially off the team's books Wednesday night.
According to NHL salary information site CapGeek.com, it is the largest buyout in NHL history.
“It was a very difficult business decision to make," general manager Paul Holmgren said of buying out Bryzgalov. "But moving forward, it makes the most sense for us to start looking down the road to trying to keep other players in the fold, like Claude Giroux."
Giroux is slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Bryzgalov had $34.5 million remaining on his contract. The Flyers will pay the 33-year-old goalie 2/3 of his remaining salary ($23 million) over a 14-year period to not play for them, amounting to about $1.63 million annually.
Ed Snider's Statement, June 26, 2013
A day after the Flyers announced that they are buying out the remaining seven years of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov's contract, Chairman Ed Snider gave a brief statement about the Flyers uses of the amnesty exception.
"I fully support Paul Holmgren in his decision to use our final compliance buyout for Ilya Bryzgalov," Snider said. "It was a very difficult decision from a financial standpoint, but if Bryz remained a Flyer, the dollars would be far greater in a shorter time frame. We now have cap space, which will allow us to improve our team.
"In the meantime, Bryz can try to find a situation where he can achieve true happiness."
Snider's response came on the heels of a statement from Bryzgalov released by the goaltender's agent Ritch Winter Wednesday morning.
“As my family and I move forward to meet the new challenges ahead, I could not leave Philadelphia without publicly thanking Mr. Snider for the faith he showed in me when he committed to the long term contract that has secured my family’s financial future and acknowledging his passion for the game of hockey," Bryzgalov's statement said. "Jeniya and I really appreciate his faith in me and what he has done for our family. Mr. Snider has an amazing energy for the deals he does and for winning. Hockey fans in this area should consider themselves lucky to have the team they cheer for led by a man who is as passionate about winning and doing whatever it takes to win as Flyers’ fans are. Getting to know Mr. Snider, has been a great experience. To see his passion for this game has been inspiring.
"I am grateful for teammates, to management and fans for the support I felt from so many of them through some very dark days and difficult situations. I have made many friends here – on the team, in the organization, among the media and throughout the community. Don’t ever think that I didn’t appreciate the kind comments of support made in the media by teammates and management and in private by so many very nice people I met on the streets of Philadelphia and in the surrounding area.
"I appreciate this experience more than many of you will know. I will learn from it. I have always said that a heavy sword makes a very strong arm. I intend to take this experience with me to my new team, to help me be stronger - a better player and, hopefully, a better person. At the end of the day, that is the challenge we all need to wrestle with.
I look forward to the bright future ahead, but will never forget my time with the Philadelphia Flyers. For this time and this experience, I am grateful."
The statement concluded with a note from Winter in capital letters that said:
FOR FURTHER COMMENT, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO WALK UP TO ILYA BRYZGALOV NEXT YEAR AT TRAINING CAMP. HE AND HIS ADVISORS WILL HAVE NO FURTHER COMMENT UNTIL THAT TIME.
Ritch Winter, the agent for Ilya Bryzgalov, sharply criticized the Flyers’ “systems approach” Wednesday on Edmonton radio as a reason why his goalie could not shine in Philadelphia.
The Flyers announced Bryzgalov will get a compliance buyout tonight at 11 p.m. when NHL clubs are allowed to file them.
Speaking on 630 CHED, Winter said the Flyers' defensive system made it impossible for a goalie to see the puck.
“It’s terrible in Philadelphia for a goaltender,” Winter said. “They block shots. They don’t open up lanes. Goaltenders can’t see the puck. The goalie coach [Jeff Reese] has no authority. The head coach [Peter Laviolette] doesn’t listen to him. It’s an issue and it’s made it a challenge.”
Winter said Bryzgalov told him “many times,” he had problems with the Flyers’ style of defensive play.
He said Bryz told him, “‘They pay you $51 million dollars because they seem to think I was good at stopping the puck and then they never let you see it.’ … Ilya Bryzgalov comes in there as a Vezina Trophy nominee and he really struggles, but plays pretty well …
“And Sergei Bobrovsky, who struggled, leaves Philadelphia, goes to Columbus and wins the Vezina Trophy. Yeah, Ilya has to take some responsibility for his performance … at the end of the day, I think there is more wrong with Philadelphia’s goaltending than just the goaltending.
“As you and I know, goaltending is about opening up lanes, and defensive communication with goaltenders. It’s about backchecking. It’s about speed. It’s about transition game. It’s not just about the puck.
“But at the foundation of it all, if Dominik Hasek, couldn’t see the puck, as much as I admired him, and represented him for his entire career, as much as Dom was the greatest goalie who ever lived, if he can’t see it, he can’t stop it.”
Only landslide Bryz is caught in is the money raining down on him now.
its the first thing that popped in my head when I read that quote in the story.
in all seriousness I do hope they have a plan in place once the buyout is officially put in place. Not many options on the FA market.