Much like last season, Ilya Bryzgalov is an unrestricted free agent hoping to find work as a mid-season replacement.
And, much like last season, it looks like “Mr. Universe” will be successful in his goal.
The 34-year-old goaltender has re-joined the Anaheim Ducks on a professional tryout basis, the team announced Wednesday, and will begin practising with the team in effort to land a short-term contract, not unlike the deal Martin Brodeur struck with St. Louis.
#NHLDucks Getzlaf on Bryzgalov: "He was great when he was here. He's a great goalie. When he's on, he plays so well."
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) December 3, 2014
Gotta See It: The Best of Bryzgalov
Anaheim goaltender John Gibson has been sidelined until late December with a groin injury, and veteran backup Jason LaBarbera will need two or three weeks to recover from a broken bone in his hand. Call-up Igor Bobkov, 23, has yet to play in the NHL.
Bryzgalov marks the third veteran member of last year’s Wild — Clayton Stoner and Dany Heatley the others — Ducks GM Bob Murray has recruited for 2014-15.
In September, Brygalov tried out for his former team, the Minnesota Wild, but failed to land a roster spot. And in October, Sportsnet’s Damien Cox reported that Bryzgalov’s agent reached out to the Colorado Avalanche for work but was denied an opportunity.
The entertaining Russian split last season between the Wild and Edmonton Oilers after a brief stint in Las Vegas. He hasn’t played a full NHL season since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign he spent with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Bryzgalov was drafted 44th overall in 2000 by the Mighty Ducks and made his NHL debut with Anaheim in 2001-02. He won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2007, but was waived that autumn and picked up by the Phoenix Coyotes.
In 457 NHL games, Bryzgalov has posted a record of 220-158-53, with a .913 save percentage, 2.56 goals-against average and 34 shutouts.