The Philadelphia Flyers have not had their 2013 season go quite as planned. After earning 103 points last season and getting a big opening round win over their rival Penguins, expectations were high for a team that had some very serious questions about certain parts of the team. While the Flyers certainly attempted to address those issues, especially with the Shea Weber offer sheet, perhaps expecting more from the Philly hockey team this season was a bit too much to ask.
At the center of this is goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, the prize free agent landed by Philly in 2011 that supposedly solved their goaltender woes. Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton were sent packing and Bryzgalov was expected to shoulder much of the workload similar to his years in Phoenix, where he was considered one of the best goalies in the NHL.
Perhaps it was the coaching. Perhaps it was the defense. Perhaps it's just the natural decline of a goaltender as his career has worn on.
Whatever the case, Bryzgalov is in the midst of his worst season in the NHL and the Flyers are now looking at missing the postseason for the first time since 2005. Bryzgalov's contract is seen as a likely hindrance to the re-tooling the Flyers desperately need and with teams having a couple of amnesty buyouts at their disposal, the disappointing numbers and results of his time in Philly could be coming to a close.
Don't expect Bryzgalov to pay much attention to that possible future, however. Talking to the Courier Post on Tuesday, Bryzgalov stated he doesn't care about a possible buyout this summer.
"You know, I have no control in this," he said. "I can't read the people's mind. I can't project things what they're thinking, that's why I'm not worried about things I can't control. I maybe want one thing and they want a different thing."
Bryzgalov has a career-low .896 save percentage that is likely affected by the sub-par defensive game by the Flyers this season. While the outspoken goaltender is more than willing to opine on anything related to the space program, he wasn't willing to step in and call out his teammates like another veteran goaltender had the night before.
"We're 10 games away from the end of the regular season and I don't want to make any comments on better or worse," he said. "We're kind of in the middle of a fight for a playoff spot and I think it's the wrong time to make some statements about how you play, how team play, how everything is going."
The Russian goaltender likely needed a game off after starting 95 percent of the Flyers games this season, and while it's tough to lay the blame for his own struggles elsewhere -- it's clear at this point that the struggles in Philadelphia are team-related and can't be pinned to just one player. That said, the Flyers will need to find some way to get space under a lowering salary cap and Bryzgalov could be the victim.