Flyers' Holmgren confident he will land Bryzgalov

LAS VEGAS - Paul Holmgren is not worried.

Despite the fact that the Flyers general manager has one of the busiest weeks of his calendar on tap - including negotiations with free-agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, a possibly franchise-defining draft on Friday in Minnesota and a need to shift salaries - Holmgren sees no need to fret.

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Holmgren

"There is no fire sale going on here," Holmgren said yesterday in a conference call with reporters. "It's not like we are caught between a rock and a hard place right now."

In a sense, Holmgren is right.

At this moment, the Flyers aren't in any predicament. But that could change when and if the Flyers decide to sign Bryzgalov, which would put them over the salary cap.

Holmgren said he is set to resume negotiations with Bryzgalov and his agent today. The sides still need to come together on term and dollar amount, Holmgren said.

"The important thing is that there was progress made when Ilya and his agent, Ritch Winter, were in town," Holmgren said. "I don't see any reason why that's not going to continue. There is enough progress, which kind of gives me hope, anyway, that we can make a deal at some point."

When? That remains anyone's guess.

Despite the fact that the NHL reportedly notified its teams yesterday that the salary cap would increase to $64 million for next season from $59.4 million, the Flyers cannot actually sign Bryzgalov without first moving salary.

Some would say the Flyers' best chance to move salary, if they were to sign Bryzgalov, would be this weekend at the draft. The Flyers do not pick until the third round (84th overall), but Holmgren said he is going into the "fairly decent" draft with "an open mind, listening and seeing what's available."

Holmgren acknowledged there is "a lot of talk right now around the league," but he won't rush to sign the former Coyotes netminder.

The Flyers' exclusive negotiating window with Bryzgalov expires on July 1.

"We would like to get [Bryzgalov] at some point," he said. "I am not sure it matters prior to the draft; there is still enough time after the draft to get a deal done."

The Flyers would be allowed to exceed the salary cap by up to 10 percent in July, as they did last summer before dealing Simon Gagne to Tampa Bay.

"We're going to have to do some tinkering here," Holmgren said. "There are some players that we have, Ville Leino, that are unrestricted that we want to keep in our mix. [But] it's not like we're in a position where we absolutely have to move cap space or move people to make cap space.

"There are a lot of things that we want to accomplish as we get closer to training camp, but that's a long time from now."

 

Slap shots

 

The 2011-12 schedule could be released as soon as today, pending the Board of Governors' approval of Atlanta's move to Winnipeg. If so, it could be the league's first official announcement that the Flyers will play in the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park, as first reported by the Daily News on April 21 . . . If the NHL's 2011-12 salary-cap upper limit does increase to $64 million, the lower limit, or minimum amount teams must spend, will increase to $48 million. That $48 million is $9 million higher than the maximum teams were allowed to spend in 2005-06, the first year out of the lockout. *