By Allan Muir
It appears that UFA goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is on his way to Sweden... to work on his game. Whether he finds a team to play for over there remains to be seen.
The tweet above is from Swedish goalie coach Erik Granqvist, who says (and forgive the rough translation) that "Bryzgalov and his agent Ritch Winter got in touch with me and asked if I could help support Bryz in his game."
Granqvist, who spent six years between the pipes with Lulea of the Swedish league, was the goalie coach with Farjestad for several years before being promoted to assistant coach in 2010. He counts Jonas Gustavsson, Cristopher Nihlstorp and Alexander Salak among his proteges. While that list might not be as star-studded as other coaches might be able to boast, Granqvist is revered for his ability to keep a goalie focused and keep his stress levels down.
Farjestad has two goalies under contract for next season -- Swede Fredrik Pettersson Wentzel and Canadian Danny Taylor, who spent some time in Calgary last season -- so it's unlikely Bryzgalov would end up there, but the chance to make himself known in Sweden could pay off. There's no interest in his services in the NHL, and there doesn't appear to be much demand in the KHL, either. Expanding the field of possible employers makes perfect sense. It'll be interesting to see if Granqvist can get him back in the game mentally and maybe find a way to make it more enjoyable for him. He shouldn't be as bad as he looked last season in Philly, so it might take a new voice in his ear to get him back on track.