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Today, in a move that perhaps surprised no one, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that he will use his second compliance buyout on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. He has 7 years and $34.5 million remaining on his contract. The terms of the buyout call for the organization to pay Bryzgalov $1.643 million over 14 years not to play for the team.

Signed as a free agent after the 2010-2011 season, Holmgren had high expectations for Bryzgalov. The goaltender had just come off of solid seasons in Phoenix, in which he led the Coyotes to two playoff berths. Holmgren realized his immense potential and quickly signed him to a 9-year, $51 million contract in Philly, placing Bryz in the position of the Flyers goalie for the future.

However, Holmgren's decision proved to be premature and far too hopeful. In his two seasons with the Flyers, Bryzgalov played incredibly inconsistent and failed to perform under pressure in Philly. Although the team made the playoffs in the 2011-2012 season, Bryzgalov failed to establish his presence in net as a reliable goaltender. The Flyers were forced to rely purely on offense in their first round triumph over Pittsburgh, but quickly fell the next round to the New Jersey Devils in five games. This past season, the team came up short and failed to make the playoffs.

While the failures of the past couple seasons cannot be completely placed on Bryz, they certainly have a lot to do with him. A team's confidence stems from its goalie's play; if the goalie is playing on top of his game, the team often follows suit and plays with confidence as well. However, the opposite case occurred for the Flyers. Opponents quickly discovered Bryzgalov's weaknesses and exploited them. Seemingly routine shots for any goalie found ways through Bryzgalov. A frustrated and dejected Bryzgalov was openly unconfident, especially with the media, and his pessimistic attitude spread amongst his teammates.

Thus, the buyout of Brygalov's contract is a necessary move for Holmgren, who already announced he would buy out forward Danny Briere's contract as well. With the two compliance buyouts, the Flyers free up $12.17 million of cap space over the next two seasons. The issue now becomes who takes over the net for the Flyers. Steve Mason, who the team acquired at the trade deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets, is a decent option; however, he too has been inconsistent in the past. So look for Holmgren to make another big splash in the goalie market this summer.
 





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