Ilya Bryzgalov says the ball is in the Flyers' court.
Bryzgalov, speaking to Russian newspaper Sport Express in a report that was translated into English over the weekend, said he and his agent left the next move to the Flyers after visiting Philadelphia for 2 days last week with his wife.
Bryzgalov, who turns 31 on Wednesday, met with the Flyers' brass for the first time since they acquired the big-name goaltender's rights on June 7.
Bryzgalov told Sports Express that he expected by "Tuesday or Wednesday everything will be [done]. We are waiting for [Philadelphia]."
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said last week that the two sides will resume talks early this week. Bryzgalov's agent, Ritch Winter, has remained tight-lipped since the Flyers acquired his new client's rights.
Even though Bryzgalov said the deal should be completed by the middle of the week, the Flyers would not be able to officially sign the extension without first moving salary to remain under last season's $59.4 million cap. Next year's number has not yet been announced, though it is believed to be in the $63.5 million neighborhood, and the Flyers are not allowed to exceed last season's number in next season's commitments until the new numbers are announced.
That rule, called the "tagging" rule, is the same reason the Flyers were not able to complete an extension for forward Ville Leino last November. Ironically, Bryzgalov may now prevent Leino from re-signing with the Flyers. Leino becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
In addition to violating the tagging space, the Flyers may also back themselves into a corner by signing Bryzgalov - with a need to clear salary from the roster - before the first round of the Entry Draft begins Friday night in St. Paul, Minn.
Last summer, the Flyers exceeded the cap by $3 million in July but were forced to move Simon Gagne's $5.25 million deal to Tampa Bay on July 19 for a substantially reduced value. Teams knew the Flyers were in a desperate position.
Even though all signs point to the Flyers' signing of Bryzgalov to a lengthy and expensive deal before his exclusive negotiating window with the team expires on July 1, it's a two-part problem standing in the way. The deal seems to be close to finished. Now, it's just a matter of when.
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