It’s been well over a year since the Philadelphia Flyers bought out goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, yet it’s still a topic of conversation for the club’s chairman Ed Snider.
The Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract in the summer prior to the start of the 2011-2012 season, but used a compliance buyout on the eccentric puck stopper after just two lackluster seasons.
“I’m proud of (former general manager and now team president Paul Holmgren) and our guys in the sense that they don’t hide behind their mistakes,” Snider said Saturday, as per the Star Ledger and NJ.com.
“They don’t say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna keep this guy because we’ll be criticized for making this horrible mistake.’
“The guy is not a bad goalie, but somehow or another he didn’t fit here.
“We’ve had goalie problems for some strange reason. Hopefully they’re behind us.”
After missing the post-season in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign, and Bryzgalov in net for 40 of 48 games, the Flyers made it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs this past spring. They accomplished the feat with Steve Mason as their No. 1 goalie.
Mason, now 26 years old, is the Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s top rookie from 2009. But he had fallen on hard times after that in Columbus, struggling there with his game until he was traded to Philadelphia in April of 2013.
He enjoyed a bounce back season with the Flyers, posting a 33-18-7 record, but with a goals-against average of 2.50 and save percentage of .917 that ranked 25th and 21st in the league, respectively.
Mason didn’t enter into Philadelphia’s first-round match-up with the New York Rangers until midway through the series. He later revealed he had been suffering from a concussion prior to his start in Game 4.
“What I’m trying to say is I don’t know how close we are (to a Stanley Cup), but I don’t know what would have happened if we had beaten the Rangers. I don’t know what would have happened if Mason started the series and played all seven games,” said Snider, as per Philly.com.
“I’m not knocking (Ray) Emery, but I think if Mason had played all the games, we would have won the round. We’d have gone to the second round. Mason would have been the goalie.”