Pierre LeBrun of ESPN was the first to cite a league source who stated that Philadelphia manager Paul Holmgren met with Briere last week in oder to inform him that the club intended to buy him out. LeBrun states that there are no hard feelings about the decision and that Briere believes Holmgren handled the situation with class.
Per the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, teams are eligible to officially submit compliance buyouts to the league office 48 hours after the deciding game of the Stanley Cup Final. This season's buyout period will conclude at 5 p.m., ET on July 4. Free agency is scheduled to begin on July 5.
With the salary cap upper-limit lowering to $64.3 million next season, the Flyers need to clear space in order to become compliant. Including Briere and the reported contract agreement with defenseman Mark Streit, the Flyers are currently on the hook for $75 million next season.
Briere is presently the highest-paid player on the Flyers roster (in terms of salary cap allocation), counting for $6.5 million annually against the cap. He has two years remaining on the term of his contract. Once the Flyers formally file the paperwork, Briere will become an unrestricted free agent and will be able to sign with any team of his choosing (Philadelphia is not permitted to sign him this offseason).
What remains unclear is how the Flyers plan to become compliant. The team has one compliance buyout left and many believe it will be used on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov's agent, Ritch Winter, contacted Holmgren in response to the amount of speculation that had been generated about his client and a potential buyout. Winter was informed by Holmgren that Bryzgalov was one of the Flyers best players in 2013, according to Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News.
In addition, Seravalli states that Winter is under the impression that Holmgren said Bryzgalov would not be bought out.
Paul Holmgren to CSN: "I didn't assure Ritch Winter of anything. When the time comes to do our business we will do whatever is best for our hockey team."
Bryzgalov will be entering the third year of a nine-year, $51 million contract in 2013-14, which carries an average annual value of $5.6 million against the salary cap.