What Were they Thinking?
WRITTEN BY PATRICK HOFFMAN | 24 JUNE 2011
(Photo Credit: Russlyhockey)
Caption: Boy does Ilya Bryzgalov have a lot to live up to. Pat Hoffman asks the question on everyone’s mind.
That was my sentiment when I heard that the Philadelphia Flyers went out and signed goaltender Illya Bryzgalov to a 9-year deal.
Have NHL general managers not learned anything when it comes to signing goaltenders to ridiculous contracts? Do they not know that often, it is a very bad idea to do so due to things that could happen that are out of their control?
Example No. 1 has to be New York Islanders’ goaltender Rick DiPietro. Back in September of 2006, Islanders’ general manager signed DiPietro to a then oustounding 15-year deal worth $67.5 million.
In return, the Islanders really have not received anything back from DiPietro accept injuries. DiPietro has yet to play a full season since signing the long-term deal and has also yet to return to the form that got him into the NHL in the first place. Overall, it has been a no-win situation for either DiPietro or the Islanders as a whole.
Another good example is the contract of Vancouver Canucks’ netminder Roberto Luongo. In September of 2009, Luongo signed a 12-year extension with the Canucks and at the time, it seemed like a smart move since Luongo had been putting up steady numbers and would more than likely keep up his end of the bargain.
While Luongo has not been terrible since signing the extension, he has not delivered the Canucks a Cup yet. He had a chance to do so this season but struggled mightily in Games 3, 4 and 6 when the team needed him the most.
So, going back to Bryzgalov, why did the Flyers take a chance on this Russian netminder for 9 years at $51 million? Yes, Bryzgalov is certainly more than a solid goaltender but is he someone to build your franchise around?
We and the Flyers will find out in a few months.