Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks place goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Ilya Bryzgalov has likely played his last game for the Anaheim Ducks.

The Stanley Cup champions placed the 27-year-old goaltender on waivers Friday. Teams have until noon ET Saturday to claim him.

Ducks GM Brian Burke had been trying to trade the netminder since last summer but was unable to find a fit.

"What I promised Bryz is that I would find him a place to play," Burke told The Canadian Press on Friday. "Bryz is a great kid and a loyal soldier. He's won three playoff rounds for us and he deserves to play somewhere. But I was unable to move him.

"The single, biggest obstacle was that he's unrestricted at the end of the year. I wasn't offered anything of value for him. But I promised him, 'If I can't get something of value for you, we'll put you on waivers."'

Bryzgalov is earning US$1.36 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Ducks signed Swiss netminder Jonas Hiller to back up star goalie J.S. Giguere last spring.

Anaheim recalled the 25-year-old Hiller from Portland of the AHL on Friday. Hiller is earning $850,000 this season, which means the Ducks will save about $500,000 under the salary cap with Hiller replacing Bryzgalov.

Every dollar counts if and when star defenceman Scott Niedermayer, under contract for $6.75 million, decides to return. The Ducks have about $5 million of cap room right now.

Hiller is 1-1 with a 3.03 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in two games for Anaheim this season. In six games for the Pirates, he was 3-2-1 with a 2.11 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Should he clear waivers, which seems unlikely, Bryzgalov will be sent to Portland.

Bryzgalov said goodbye to his Anaheim teammates after Thursday night's 6-3 victory at Los Angeles. Bryzgalov was hoping for a chance to start somewhere else.

"In my mind, he's earned this," said Burke. "When a player gives you everything he has and he's a quality person, he deserves a chance to play. And if you can't manufacture that chance, then this is the way you have to do it."

Bryzgalov is 2-3-1 this season with a 2.55 GAA and .909 save percentage. He's 26-23-8 for his NHL career with a 2.48 GAA and .909 save percentage. He was taken 44th overall by Anaheim in the 2000 NHL entry draft.



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