My first blog will be pretty straight forward; I am convinced the flyers will use their compliance buy out on Ilya Bryzgalov. Not too much of a shocker for most, really. For those who do not know, the salary cap is dropping to roughly 67 million in the 2013-2014 season, which poses problems for certain clubs, including the flyers. To remedy this, the NHL gave each team two compliance buy outs -- that is, a buyout that will not go towards the salary cap as usual buyouts do -- to be used in the 2013 and 2014 offseasons.
Bryzgalov has gone through some pretty rough couple of seasons since arriving in Philadelphia from Phoenix. He posted a .909 SV% in his first year with his new club and dropped to a .900 SV% in this lockout shortened season. It even seemed that Mr. Universe may have been losing his starting position to newly-acquired Steve Mason towards the end of the season. He simply hasn't led up to expectations.
32 year old Bryzgalov is surrounded by a young and talented forwards core but admittedly the Flyers blue line leaves much to be desired. That being said, his team is only going upwards from here. Claude Giroux has established himself as a top-tier player in the league -- despite a rough start to the 2012-2013 season -- and young forwards are coming into their own, such as the surprise of the flyers Season Jakub Voracek and defensive-minded centre Sean couturier. These forwards are joined by talented and young players like Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and Matt Read. The forwards core is strong, and getting stronger.
It simply does not make sense for the Flyers to stay committed to Bryzgalov at this point in their development. Their team is young and has many good years ahead of them, at least from their offense, and sticking with Bryz will hold them back from this. He's aging and his best years are likely behind him. Steve Mason is only 24, and only a few years removed from the calder trophy. Mason could easily be a very solid NHL goaltender for years to come, and just as easy match and improve upon Bryzgalov's stats, for a quarter the cap hit. It makes sense to roll with Mason over Bryz, in my opinion.
Additionally, it seems obvious that Bryzgalov will be bought out when we look at the Flyers Salary situation going into the 2013-2014 season. They sit at $3,269,762 above the salary cap for next season. This means they will somehow have to part with over 3 million in salary $ in order to be compliant. Bryzgalov has an annual hit of $5, 666, 667 through 2020. Were they to use their compliance buyout on him, they would have roughly 2.4 mil to work with for next season. The only major players not signed in their club for next season are Mike Knuble, Simon Gagne and Ruslan Fedetenko. Personally, I don't see any upside to signing any of those guys with the exception of Simon Gagne. Buying out Bryz might conveniently clear up almost enough space to sign Gagne, too.
The Flyers also have a lot of money invested in a rather mediocre blueline. Andrei Mesjaros, Brayden Coburn and Nik Grossman combined to take up 12 million next season. That's a lot for average top 6 defensemen. That being said, realistically buying out Bryzgalov and clearing up their cap problems will be much less of a hinder to their hockey club than trading a couple of players such as the aforementioned defenders to get below the maximum for next season. There are definitely other options in the way of clearing up cap space but none seem to be as efficient for the Flyers as buying out Bryz. They simply do not need his salary through 2020 (although admittedly he would retire before then) and it clears up their immediate cap space problem for next year.
I entirely believe the Philadalphia Flyers organisation should buy out Bryzgalov. It's the best decision long term and short term. Let the team grow around the young goaltender they have in their possesion in Mason. Clear the cap situation for next year and get a burden off the flyers for years to come. I can't imagine that the flyers won't buy out Bryz either this offseason or the next, and I think that's the right decision entirely. And who knows, maybe he signs for a lower-cap hit elsewhere and finds success with less pressure on him.
Thank you for reading! It's my first blog so I apologise if it was poorly written or unclear. Feel free to comment any criticism!