BUFFALO - Though signs seem to point toward the Flyers buying out goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's contract after the season, team executives are still undecided on the issue.

Teams can buy out as many as two players on June 30.

They would be responsible for two-thirds of the remaining salary owed, but none of the money would count against the cap.

Bryzgalov has been one of the Flyers' top players this season, but he has a cap-unfriendly contract that has seven more years.

The Flyers absorb an annual cap hit of $5.67 million.

"It's not like it's a no-brainer," said someone familiar with the situation.

In other words, the Flyers are at least contemplating having Bryzgalov and Steve Mason push each other by competing for the starting job next year.

The two would have a combined $7.2 million cap hit.

The cap, currently at $70.2 million, drops to $64.3 million next year, and the Flyers have $65.6 million committed to 19 players.

Mason was superb in the Flyers' 1-0 loss in Buffalo on Saturday, and afterward he said his goal was to win the starting job next season.

"No goaltender should be satisfied being a No. 2 in this league, and I most certainly am not," Mason said. ". . . I'm 24 years old. I realize there's a lot of time ahead, but I won't be happy until I get back to a level I'm comfortable playing at."


Phantoms winger Eric Wellwood will need nine to 12 months to recover from having his Achilles and three other tendons sliced by his skate a week ago, Holmgren said. . . . Holmgren said none of the injured Flyers will return this season. He had been hoping Zac Rinaldo (ankle) might return. . . . Oliver Lauridsen lost decisively to Patrick Kaleta in his first NHL fight. . . . Saturday was the Flyers' first regular-season shutout loss to Buffalo since 1998. . . . Defenseman Eric Gustafsson played a team-high 24 minutes, 21 seconds, a career high. . . . The Flyers power play is 0 for 16 in the last six games.