Friday, November 16, 2007

Bryzgalov On Waivers

With the salary cap, it is hard to make a trade in the NHL. At most times you have to trade a player for another player with nearly the same salary. That makes trades rare. No significant trades have occurred yet this year. Anaheim has been trying to move their backup goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov wants a trade to a city where he could be a starting goalie. Given Anaheim's slow start there have been a lot of rumors that Bryzgalov could be moved to attempt to help them out. Brian Burke has been trying but it hasn't worked. With the likely return of sabbatical players Scott Niedermayer and maybe Teemu Selanne, Anaheim looks as though they have to make a move that frees up salary space. The problem is moves like that are very hard under the salary cap. It is so bad that Brian Burke floated the trial balloon that teams should be able to trade players but still pay part of their salary to help him make a move. Likely this idea is a non-starter, but it is an interesting idea.

Things have got to be so bad that Anaheim has decided to put Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers. I am sure some team will claim him. It's a move that weakens the Ducks. They give up a good goalie and get nothing in return except for the space to add Niedermayer and maybe Selanne under the salary cap. Some team will claim Bryzgalov. He is too good not to be claimed and there are at least a handful of teams with goaltending weaknesses.

Here is the TSN story on the Ducks move.

NOTE: The Phoenix Coyotes have claimed Bryzgalov. Given that their previous goaltending pair was Alex Auld and Mikael Tellqvist he will be their clear number one goalie. I imagine phoenix hopes to resign him since Bryzgalov is a UFA this summer. Anaheim got rid of his salary and moved him to a division rival who is a weak enough team that it won't matter significantly to their positioning in the division and conference. The problem is they have no assets to show for Bryzgalov leaving Anaheim.

It is entirely possible (though I have no evidence for it) that this move was forced by Bryzgalov declaring he would return to Russia unless he was given number one playing time.

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