Although the focus of the hockey world has been deadlocked on the aftermath of the 2011 NHL entry draft, there were several big deals made over the weekend that can’t be overlooked.
Quite possibly the biggest was the Philadelphia Flyers signing of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on Thursday. The Flyers signed the Russian netminder to a huge nine-year contract worth $51 million after they cleared cap space by trading away forwards Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. The knock against Philadelphia has always been their shaky goaltending. After another questionable season for them between the pipes in 2011 (in which they used three different starting goaltenders), will Bryz finally be the answer?
San Jose GM Doug Wilson once again felt that the reason the Sharks came up short in their quest for a Cup was a lack of a solid defensive core. In order to help bolster that core, Wilson traded away established young forward Devin Setoguchi, blue-chip prospect Charlie Coyle and a 2011 first-round pick to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Brent Burns and a second-round pick in next year’s draft. Setoguchi will get more opportunities to put the puck in the net in Minnesota (which he did 22 times in ’11 with San Jose) but will the 26-year-old Burns be enough to help bring San Jose its first Stanley Cup?
In other trade news, the Calgary Flames traded away a pair of veteran players in defenseman Robyn Regehr and forward Ales Kotalik along with a second-round pick in 2012 to the Buffalo Sabers in exchange for defenseman Chris Butler and forward Paul Byron. The news came as a surprise to the 31-year-old Regehr, who had to be wooed into waiving his no-movement clause in his current contract. Buffalo GM Darcy Regier apparently put on the full-court press and convinced Regehr just how bad the Sabers wanted the gritty D-man in their lineup.