When the Oilers dealt Ladislav Smid to the Flames, there was an indication that the deal was the signal of something more. Surely, that was the case. On Friday night, as the dealings were being done, it was announced that the Oilers reached a verbal agreement with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on a 1-year deal. Details later in the evening had suggested that the deal was worth $1.75 million for the rest of the season, which would appear to be a great deal.
Bryzgalov was bought out at the compliance buyout section of the off-season, thanks to the lowered salary cap ceiling, after a season that didn't meet expectations and in turn, created more questions than answers about the 33-year old Russian's ability.
In the shortened 2013 season, Bryzgalov finished 14th among goalkeepers in pool scoring, 40th overall, with 19 wins, 1 shutout and 3 assists for 43 points, but that wasn't going to be enough for the Flyers in the end, as they decided to find some change.
Edmonton will be looking for some steadiness in goal with Bryzgalov, but having traded away Smid, it does leave an immediate hole on defense, which is arguably their most needed element to their game. Bryzgalov will likely be given every opportunity to impress, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll succeed.
The most immediate implication of this deal going down is that Devan Dubnyk will not be getting as much crease time as he might have been expecting down the line. This will definitely hurt Stacey C., who was tabbed as the number one guy at the beginning of the year, but has not played as one and has now been ousted from his spot.
Bryzgalov will likely be a popular figure when the first Waiver Draft comes around, as he will be a goaltender who will be offered up all kinds of minutes in the Edmonton crease. It may be a coin flip for the last place team, do they take Josh Harding or Ilya Bryzgalov?