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Flyers need a better backup for Bryzgalov


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by John Boruk:

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Aside from his improved English, there wasn’t much else to write about Sergei Bobrovsky’s second year in Philadelphia.

His sophomore season started out extremely strong. He was clearly the better goaltender, outplaying Ilya Bryzgalov through the first four months of the season and earning the start in the Winter Classic.

But Bobrovsky's second season was like two seasons wrapped up in one. He was 11-4-1 with a 2.42 GAA and a .919 save percentage before the All-Star Game. After the break, Bobrovsky’s game departed for Siberia as he was 3-6-1 with a 4.16 G.A.A. and a .860 save percentage in 10 appearances. At times, he was the product of poor defense in front of him, but he quickly lost confidence and never had much of an opportunity to regain it after Bryzgalov started to earn the majority of the work.

It became clear the moment Bryzgalov signed a nine-year contract that Bobrovsky was no longer in the organization’s long-term plans. And after this off-season, I’ll be very surprised if Bobrovsky is still with the team.

Unfortunately, his poor play down the stretch crippled whatever trade value he may have had and the teams looking to solidify their goaltending prior to next season won't list Bobrovsky as their No. 1 choice.

For that reason, Bobrovsky needs to play as if he’s the starter and that opportunity with this organization will only come next season with the Phantoms now that Michael Leighton is no longer under contract.

In addition, the Flyers need to find a reliable veteran backup on a one-year contract who can offset Bryzgalov, especially during those stints when he gets lost in that heavily wooded bear-infested wilderness that swallowed him up this past season. Keeping Bobrovsky in Glen Falls will also free up the additional cap space the Flyers could utilize to sign free agents as Bobrovsky counts a rather hefty $1.75 million against the cap.

From Bobrovsky’s future to the Flyers' plans for 2012-13, it only makes sense for general manager Paul Holmgren to explore the free-agent options. It may not be one of the Flyers' biggest, flashiest or more-expensive moves, but it could prove to be just as important come July 1.

As for the possible candidates:

Tomas Vokoun (WSH)

The 35-year-old won’t return to Washington after signing a one-year contract. He suffered a groin injury at the end of the regular season but says he is fully healed.

2011-12 stats: 25-17-2, 2.51 GAA, .917 save percentage

Johan Hedberg (NJ)

The 39-year-old was originally drafted by the Flyers back in 1994. He played very well in place of Martin Brodeur. Expect the Devils to promote one of their prospects, leaving Hedberg to test free agency.

2011-12 stats: 17-7-0, 2.23, .918

Josh Harding (MIN)

The Wild are still trying to lock up the potential unrestricted free agent, but Harding turned in a solid season when Niklas Backstrom got hurt. After four seasons as a backup, Harding may be looking for a starter’s job.

2011-12 stats: 13-12-4, 2.62, .917

Scott Clemmensen (FLA)

The Panthers signed the now 34-year-old Clemmensen to compete for the starter’s job, but he was outplayed by Jose Theodore.

2011-12 stats: 14-6-6, 2.57, .913

Chris Mason (WPG)

The 36-year-old Mason put up better numbers than starter Ondrej Pavelec and has only played in 53 games over the past two seasons. However, he's just 1-8 as a playoff starter.

2011-12 stats: 8-7-1, 2.59, .898

E-mail John Boruk at jboruk@comcastsportsnet.com

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Bryz started to EARN the majority of the work?!?! When the hell did that happen? Only after the AS break did Bryz actually start "earning" his starts. The problem was, Bob was shelved after the winter classic and played rarely no matter how bad Bryz did once he was handed the reigns ......

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Bryz started to EARN the majority of the work?!?! When the hell did that happen? Only after the AS break did Bryz actually start "earning" his starts. The problem was, Bob was shelved after the winter classic and played rarely no matter how bad Bryz did once he was handed the reigns ......

Management handed Bryzgalov the reins when they signed him. The die was cast. There was no other option. Bob was the backup goalie.

Now, let's examine the "facts" of the situation:

- Bob's third start of the season, 5 goals on 15 shots in a 9-8 loss to Winnipeg. He was sub-.900 in two of his next three starts, including giving up another 5-spot to Winnipeg. 3.74/.859 in October

- He was 2-2-1 in 5 starts in November (3-21, 2.44/.921) with the team "needing" to score 4 or more goals to win half his starts.

- Bryzgalov was 4-1-1 in November (2.52/.918), the only game he started the team "needed" to score four or more was the Islanders game Bob relieved him in.

- While being "outplayed" by Bob, Bryz opened December with six straight wins.with the team "needing" to score 4 or more just twice. The team was then shut out 6-0 by Boston and never scored more than two in a Bryz start for the rest of the month (three starts including a 1.86/.926 loss in Colorado)

- Bob had a very solid December for a backup, 3-0, 1.86, .935 with three starts. In those three starts the team averaged 4 goals a game, "needing" four to win one.

During this time the entire 24/7 fiasco is swirling and people are focusing more on the loony things HBO is getting out of Bryz. Then we have the tweet about who's starting and, if this was any other Rangers game of the season no one gives a rat's posterior. I think it was the 4-2 loss to New York at the Garden that was the key here. Bryz was not impressive.

Anyhoo, Bryz gets the next two starts after the Classic and wins both. Bob goes 3-2 in January, 2.19, .929 in five starts. Bryz, 4-2-2, 2.67, .912 in eight.

Bryzgalov is going to be given every opportunity to find his game - again, not my call, management's - and there are indications that he is starting to . There are also indications that previous inconsistency remains.

Was Bryz's 2.28/.909 the reason the Flyers were 4-3-1 in his February starts? Flyers were shut out three times and this is where Bryz actually gets a point for a team that didn't score any goals.

Bob puts up 1-4, 5.50, .822.

Bryz then has his "hot March" - picking up another two points for a team that doesn't score a goal.

I suppose we could say that it was Bryz's fault the Flyers didn't play Florida in the first round...

Bob never grabbed the reins, but the reins were obviously never there to be grabbed. He didn't stand on his head to win the Classic - he gave up two goals to Mike Rupp to erase a 2-0 Flyers lead and then gave up the game-winner. If he was going to grab anything, he might have started with Brad Richards' goal.

In fact, Bob didn't really do much of anything all year to make anyone think there was even the remotest chance of him taking over (it was Bryz's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad play that did that).

He's making too much at $1.75M and will likely play some if not all of next year in the A - barring a deal.

I like him, wish him well and do think he got something of the raw end of a deal.

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He's making too much at $1.75M and will likely play some if not all of next year in the A - barring a deal.

he's making $900k. potential bonuses and the no-bonus-cushion last season pushed his cap hit to the larger number. assuming the bonus cushion is reintroduced next season, his cap hit will return to "normal" for an entry level deal.

that said, he certainly doesn't look like he is built to be a backup. i said it last summer: to the extent the flyers are locked into bryzgalov long term, it makes no sense to have a kid as the backup, there are better ways to fill that role when you don't intend to use it as an audition spot. the flyers will need to do better. interesting concept in the article is vokoun, though i'd expect that would lead to the annual controversy given that he remains twice the goalie bryzgalov is.

what? you thought i could make it through an entire goaltending post and not throw a stone? ;)

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Nice breakdown Radoran. Pretty obvious Bryz does not deserve half the hate he's getting.

Kind of reminds me of the Ryan Howard situation with the Phillies. Most of these message boards did nothing but rip him the minute he got his contract extension. Overpaid, not worth it, overrated, etc. Now he's out of the lineup and the team can't score any runs.......so I guess all the idiots calling him overpaid all of last season look a little short sighted - and thats being nice.

Bryz did not look like a world beater, I guess you have to be the absolute best or nothing in this town or its not good enough.

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I guess you have to be the absolute best or nothing in this town or its not good enough.

lol, you actually said that with a straight face about the guy who took home $15mil last year. yeah, expectations for performance are so unreasonable.

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Harding's looking to be a starter. He almost unseated Backstrom, but for the contract.

Doubt he will want to come here to back up again if there's a starting job available.

Vokoun is an interesting idea. I would have gone Vokoun over Bryzgalov.

I have a feeling that they will go with a young guy and remove any sort of "controversy."

That "young guy" could be Bob at $900K....

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Nice breakdown Radoran. Pretty obvious Bryz does not deserve half the hate he's getting.

Bryz did not look like a world beater, I guess you have to be the absolute best or nothing in this town or its not good enough.

' @Green Man

That's a bogus straw man statement. I just want him to look like a GOOD professional goaltender, he doesn't have to Jacques Plante. You think he played well enough, I don't.

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That "young guy" could be Bob at $900K....

well, as you illustrated, he really didn't get the job of providing stable relief for bryzgalov done. some guys aren't wired to come off the bench; i really got the impression bob was not comfortable (or effective) in that role.

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@Green Man

"Nice breakdown Radoran. Pretty obvious Bryz does not deserve half the hate he's getting.

Kind of reminds me of the Ryan Howard situation with the Phillies. Most of these message boards did nothing but rip him the minute he got his contract extension. Overpaid, not worth it, overrated, etc. Now he's out of the lineup and the team can't score any runs.......so I guess all the idiots calling him overpaid all of last season look a little short sighted - and thats being nice.

Bryz did not look like a world beater, I guess you have to be the absolute best or nothing in this town or its not good enough."

Be careful there GM. It is VERY easy to distort views when picking and choosing isolated portions of statistics.

The reality is that by the WC and even the end of January Bryz, B had become entirely inconsistent. His totals at that stage were 2.75 GAA and a .905 sv percentage. Meanwhile Bobrovsky had course corrected those early season "bad" games and was 2.48 with a .917 by the same point (end of January).

The team as a whole did not play particularly well in February. Certainly Bobs did not help his cause, but other than one bad game, I could easily say he was hung out to dry (NYR game, Detroit game and even where he came in for relief of Bryz after Bryz crapped the bed againse Pitts- and bob was tagged with the loss). He played 5 games in February and 3 of the four losses had little reflection on him as it did on the team.

At this same point (February), you also have to remember that there was a sit down with Breezy with Lavi. While never public, there were rumors that Breezy said "give me the full reigns". They did and he did well with it (only after the Flyers acquired Grossman and Kubina).

Bobs sporadic starts in March were fine (3). Aside from a NJ loss in which HALF of the defense was scratched (Kimmo, Mesz, Kubina) AND the Flyers were playing their 5 game in 8 nights and were tied halfway through the 3rd, there is nothing you could say bad about Bobs games.

This guy gets a very bad rap. Does he need to improve his game, for sure. In the end, I think that Snider knee jerked. Rad says the die has been set, but I think the Flyers can get out after two more years. Bobs will be a RFA still. The pisser is that bobs signed a contract that pays him only $67,500 at the AHL level (where he SHOULD be playing to get the games, but won't because of the salary).

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The problem for Bob is that there was never a stretch during which he played consistently well. Both goalies had some significant peaks and valleys and in that situation the established starter will get the call 9 times out of 10 and 25 out of 10 in this situation.

I didn't realize the two way deal was involved. That's awful for Bob.

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So the article assumes - or never mentions (unless I missed it) Bob will clear waivers to "start in the AHL"

Sure, I guess no team will go after him proactively since he didn't have a very good year but if he can be had for 1/2 of $900K, or whatever his salary is, won't some team claim him?

Bob is waiver-eligible isn't he?

For the 1000th time - boy did we screw ourselves with the Bryzgalov deal. Even if he was working out great, adjusted right away, gave us solid goaltending all year - you know, the dream that never came true - it was still a dumb move shoving Bob under the bus. This is a blue-chip prospect slowly being turned into Nitty...what a shame.

(btw hellluva good game tonight, Kings/Coyotes G5)

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The problem for Bob is that there was never a stretch during which he played consistently well.

fixed it. getting a start here and there 3 or 4 times a month is a tough gig. he didn't play well, but imo he wasn't really given a chance to. bryzgalov is and was the starter, so there isn't and wasn't any real reason to see what bob could do if given 4 of 5 games for a 20 game stretch. which is to say, better for everyone that he moves on and the flyers bring in a backup who works well in that role.

I didn't realize the two way deal was involved. That's awful for Bob.

? that's good for bob. it means he won't have to go through re-entry waivers to return to the NHL if he's sent down. yes, he'd have to clear normal waivers on the way down (unless assigned there during camp), but it means that he doesn't have to be worried about being stuck down there.

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I always understood a 2-way deal only affects the salary and has zero to do with waivers.

exactly, and re-entry waivers only apply to players who make more than a given amount while in the minor leagues. $105k was the cut off last season. bob's salary in the AHL is $67.5k, so he'd be clear.

a 2 way contract only means a guy makes different salaries in the AHL versus the NHL, like you said, but given that the NHL minimum salary was $525k, all players on a 1 way contract would have to go through re-entry waivers to come back up. *some* players on 2 way deals wouldn't have to, so long as their AHL salary is low enough. all of that assumes the player is eligible for waivers to begin with, obviously. which bob is.

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Ah...so THAT'S how all the confusion is kept alive...because it is tied to the salary, albeit indirectly. "players who make more than a given amount while in the minors..." - never knew that part. Thanks!

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@, @canoli

I did not know that about the salary portion of waiver exemption. I always knew what the 2-way / 1-way contact was (same as Canoli). Where did you find what the $amount is for the exemption?

As and aside, in doing some research on this, I also learned a little tidbit I never knew before regarding re-entry claims. When a waiver eligible player is sent down and not claimed and subsequently recalled and claimed by another team, the originating team is liable for 50% of the cap hit. However, if the latter team that claimed him, waives said player, the originating and acquiring team are both off the hook entirely for the cap hit.

I say this because that could introduce some behind the doors hand shake deals.

For example, the Flyers could waive Chris Pronger and St Louis could claim him. Then St Louis could waive him. The Flyers are OFF the hook for his salary (as is St Louis obviously). Interesting!!

p.s. Are you Aziz?? If so, you are being accused on Silly.com as being special K.

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the salary tables for reentry waivers are in the CBA. section 50.9g sounds right, but that is just off the top of my head, could be wrong.

And I will have you know, good Sir, I am certainly not Kuato, wise and upstanding gentleman though he be. To suggest I am he would be intellectually dishonest.

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Bob lost his waiver exemption after the great goalie cluster**** courtesy of Lavy, Leighton, Boosh, and Homer. It's not the salary here, but number of NHL games played.

From the current CBA, since it's still in effect here...

ARTICLE 13 WAIVERS AND LOANS OF PLAYERS TO MINOR LEAGUE CLUBS

(Section 13.3 and 13.4 are relevant here as follows)

Section 13.3 Re-Entry Waivers

A Player who requires Regular Waivers may not be Recalled without first clearing Re-Entry Waivers, in accordance with Section 50.9(g) of this Agreement.

Section 13.4 Exempt Players

I'm going to pull out quotes here since it has a chart. Bob was 21 when he signed as a goalie for the Flyers. Therefore, he is waiver exempt for four years or 60 NHL games, whichever comes first, based on the aforementioned chart. NHL games, according to this section, include both regular season and playoff games. Bob played 54 regular season games and 6 playoff games, for a total of 60 NHL games. Ergo, he needs to go through waivers to be sent to the AHL. In turn, that also means he is re-entry waiver eligible.

--- opinion time ---

I guarantee he'll never get through re-entry waivers with his current minimal salary and potential.

And yes, Homer is a ****** moron, but we knew that already thanks to spectacular deals like Bryz and Pronger's 35+ fiasco.

Maybe if the Flyers gave Bob more than ONE SINGLE SEASON of an opportunity, he could have developed. But no, he rots on the bench while Bryz gets all the ice time, and coaching efforts to make him a servicable starter - which he really isn't giving up those momentum crushing stinkers. At least Bob was coachable and wanted to get better more than anything, but now he doesn't get nearly the developmental attention he needs and frankly after his first promising season, deserves. Yeah he stunk in Feb - no one was playing backside defense. His sporatic starting schedule didn't help matters through most of the rest of the season. Awful situation. As someone else put it, the Flyers are well on their way to have Niitty'd Bobrovsky. I'm disgusted.

Was Bob the answer? I have no idea, but I wanted to find out. Over an extended period of time/seasons. He had the right attitude, right work ethic, and his teammates respected him. Now we may never know until he signs with another team and burns the Flyers for ten or so years.

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@doom88

13.3

Re-Entry Waivers.

A Player who requires Regular Waivers may not be Recalled

without first clearing Re-Entry Waivers, in accordance with Section 50.9(g) of this

Agreement.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

50.9(g)

Minor League Compensation. Neither the salaries nor signing bonuses

paid to minor league Players shall be counted against a Club's Upper Limit or the Players'

Share. For a Player on a One-Way NHL Contract or a Two-Way Contract with a Minor

League Salaryand compensation that could be earned in excess of the following

amounts:

2005-06: U.S. $75,000

2006-07: U.S. $95,000

2007-08: U.S. $100,000

2008-09: U.S. $100,000

2009-10: U.S. $105,000

2010-11: U.S. $105,000

2011-12: U.S. $105,000

the following rules shall apply:

(i) To the extent the Player does not require Waivers to be Loaned to

a minor league affiliate, he can be freely Loaned and Recalled; and

(ii) To the extent the Player does require Waivers to be Loaned to a

minor league affiliate, he cannot be Loaned or recalled without

first clearing regular Waivers, and then cannot be Recalled to the

NHL parent Club during the same League Year without also

clearing a new Re-Entry Waiver procedure, pursuant to which the

Player can be claimed by another NHL Club for fifty (50) percent

of the contract's remaining amounts to be paid, with the balance to

be paid by and charged to the waiving NHL Club (both amounts to

be counted against each Club's Upper Limit, Actual Club Salary

and Averaged Club Salary, and counted against the Players'

Share); and

(iii) For a Player on an AHL contract with a Minor League Salary and

compensation that could be earned in excess of the applicable

amount set forth above in this Section 50.9(g), who signs an NHL

SPC for the same season with the AHL team's NHL affiliated

Club, the Player must first clear the new Re-EntryWaiver

procedure, pursuant to which the Player can be claimed by another

unaffiliated NHL team for fifty (50) percent of the SPC's

remaining amounts to be paid, with the balance to be paid by and

charged to the original NHL affiliated Club signing the contract

(both amounts to be counted against each Club's Upper Limit,

Actual Club Salary, and Averaged Club Salary and counted against

the Players' Share).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

thus, if a player's AHL salary is less than the stated amounts, the above clause 50.9(g)(ii) does not apply. bob would have to clear regular waivers, because eligibility for those are defined elsewhere in the CBA. he would not have to clear re-entry waivers, because he does not qualify per section 13.3's reference of the salary requirement of 50.9(g).

Edited by noodl
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So what you're saying is if he was waived the team that claims him would be on the hook for his whole 1.75mill salary?

right, on the way down. that's like everyone else, though, a waiver claim on a player who is about to be sent down from the NHL is always a regular waiver claim, where the entire contract moves with the claimed player. it's on the way back up that re-entry waivers come into play. some players are required to go through re-entry waivers to return the NHL, and claims at that point go halvsies. not all players are exposed to re-entry waivers, bob being one of the "safe" ones.

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