Flyers trade for rights to Bryzgalov
Last June, it was Evgeni Nabokov.
This June, it's another Russian goaltender.
On Tuesday, the Flyers traded for the rights to Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, the most highly regarded netminder on this summer's free agent market.
But that doesn't mean he will necessarily be in a Flyers uniform next season.
The Flyers executed the trade - which sent Phantoms forward Matt Clackson and a 2012 third round pick to Phoenix - to open an exclusive negotiating window with Bryzgalov and his agent until free agency opens on July 1.
Bryzgalov will turn 31 this year.
The Flyers also had the same rights last season with Nabokov, who was an unrestricted free agent that eventually decided to start the season in Russia before returning to sign with the Islanders.
The Flyers would be free to sign Bryzgalov, who becomes free game for any team on July 1 if he is not signed, to a contract of any length. It is believed that Bryzgalov will command close to the $4.5 million he earned with the Coyotes this past season.
"After several discussions with Ilya and his agent, it became very clear to us that we were not in a position to sign Ilya to a long-term contract," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said in a statement. "We will now focus our efforts on adding another goaltender to our roster for the upcoming season."
The Coyotes signed their backup goalie, Jason Labarbera, to a two-year deal on Monday.
Bryzgalov, who could be a part of a tandem with fellow Russian Sergei Bobrovsky, has collected 130 wins over the past four seasons.
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