Ilya Bryzgalov Expects To Be Gone
Ilya Bryzgalov, the sole Russian player (and only the second Russian goaltender ever, after Nikolai Khabibulin) to put his name on the Stanley Cup this year, expects to be working elsewhere next season, according to an interview he gave to Sport Express (convenient English version here):
"I am sure that either I or Giguere will be leaving the club soon, since Anaheim have signed a strong Swiss keeper, Jonas Hiller," said Bryzgalov. "Giguere had a nice season, and I think Anaheim can sign him.
"Though I have an existing contract with the Ducks ($1.8 million for '07-'08), and I have proven I deserve to be on the team, I am not the one who will decide. It all depends on our general manager, Brian Burke."
The Orange County Register explains the reasons behind Bryzgalov's concern:
In a May 25 move intentionally flown under the radar as they began preparations for the Stanley Cup Finals, the Ducks announced the signing of coveted Swiss-born goalie Jonas Hiller to a one-year, entry-level contract heavily laced with performance-bonus clauses.
At 25, Hiller is not a prospect in need of years of seasoning. A star in the Swiss national league the past three seasons, the scouting report on Hiller is that he is NHL-ready.
The acquisition of Hiller, who has worked with Ducks goaltending consultant Francois Allaire in the past, probably means the club's netminding tandem of Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov will be no more.
If Giguere re-signs — undoubtedly at a hefty increase over this season's $3.99 million salary — the Ducks likely would not be able to afford Bryzgalov, whose salary-cap figure next season will be $1.181 million.
For more on Bryzgalov's playoff run with Stanley Cup winners Anaheim this season, click here.
Update 5:10pm - Bryzgalov goofing around during an interview on YouTube, and the Ilya Bryzgalov "Knob Hockey" clip.