Earlier in the week, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said it was important for the recently acquired Ilya Bryzgalov to spend some time with goalie coach Jeff Reese.
Consider their brief meeting Thursday a successful one.
Bryzgalov met with several members of the Flyers’ brass at their Voorhees practice facility _ including Reese _ as the goalie and his agent, Ritch Winter, began negotiations with Holmgren.
The Flyers acquired Bryzgalov’s rights from Phoenix last week, and are trying to reach a contract agreement before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
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“I had a lot of fun with him,” Reese said. “He’s very intelligent and understands the game.”
“We would have no problem getting along” if he signed with the Flyers,” Reese added. “I enjoyed our time together.”
Bryzgalov, who turns 31 on Wednesday, and his agent will continue talking with Flyers executives on Friday and also tour the city. The goalie arrived in Philadelphia after flying from Russia to New York, where he boarded Ed Snider’s private jet.
Last season, Bryzgalov had a 2.48 goals-against average and .921 save percentage; he was the Vezina Trophy runnerup the previous year.
“I really like the way he plays, like the way he positions himself and uses his size to his advantage,” Reese said of the 6-foot-3 goaltender.
Winter will not reveal any details about negotiations. He emphasized recently that all media reports about the length and cost of the deal were conjecture.
Sources said the Flyers will sign Bryzgalov if his demands “aren’t crazy.”
A five-year deal that would pay him about $5.5 million per season seems like a reasonable guesstimate, based on an unofficial goalie scale.
Holmgren did not return calls on Thursday. Eight days ago, he hinted that the length of the deal would not be a stumbling block and that he was “open-minded.”
The Flyers already have nearly $59 million committed to 18 players for 2011-12. The salary cap is expected to climb from $59.4 million to about $62.4 million for next season, and it will be announced shortly.
If they sign Bryzgalov, the Flyers figure to bypass on resigning winger Ville Leino, a prospective free agent. They also may have to deal a player such as defenseman Matt Carle.
The Flyers do not want to trade high-scoring forward Jeff Carter unless they are overwhelmed by an offer, a source said, adding they would need more than what Columbus is reportedly dangling _ winger Jakub Voracek and a first-round pick (eighth overall) in next Friday’s draft.
If the Flyers cannot sign Bryzgalov, Evgeni Nabokov, who is property of the New York Islanders, may be a fallback option.
* * *
With Boston’s win on Wednesday, the Flyers have been eliminated in the playoffs by the last three Stanley Cup champions _ the Bruins this year, Chicago in 2010, and Pittsburgh in 2009…..According to Bodog.com, only three teams _ Vancouver (5 to 1), Boston (8 to 1) and Washington (17 to 2) _ have a better chance to win the Cup next season. The Flyers, Pittsburgh and San Jose are all at 9 to 1. Those odds, of course, will change if the Flyers sign Bryzgalov….Reese on goalie Sergei Bobrovsky: “He has a terrific future ahead of him.”
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at email@example.com or on Twitter at BroadSt Bull.
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