Bringing Bryzgalov back would be a hard sell for Coyotes
As soon as word came down that the Philadelphia Flyers would buy out goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, the speculation in Phoenix began. Would the Coyotes be interested in bringing back the oddball goaltender if attempts to re-sign Mike Smith fail and he departs in free agency?
The knee-jerk answer: No way.
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Not only was Bryzgalov a postseason flop in 2010 and 2011, he alienated many of his teammates with self-imposed locker-room isolation, a lack of accountability when things were going badly and a perceived lack of commitment. In his first year in Philadelphia, the leaders in the Coyotes clubhouse admitted he had been a divisive force in the locker room.
As most Coyotes fans know, Bryzgalov signed a nine-year, $51 million deal with the Flyers in 2011 after Phoenix traded his negotiating rights when it became clear they would not be able to afford his contract demands.
In the ensuing two seasons with Philadelphia, Bryzgalov posted goals against averages of 2.48 and 2.79 with pedestrian save percentages of .909 and .900. Because of that, and his continued off-ice oddities, he is available again.
While it would be unwise for the Coyotes to leave any option unexplored if Smith should leave, it is hard to imagine GM Don Maloney selling this move to the holdovers in the locker room. And given that 4.36 goals against average he posted in Detroit’s four-game, postseason sweep of the Coyotes in 2011 – Bryzgalov’s final four games in Phoenix – what exactly is the selling point?
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