Minnesota Wild acquire Ilya Bryzgalov from Oilers
The 33-year-old Russian has a 5-8-5 record in 20 games for the Oilers this season with an ugly 3.01 goals-against average and he's on a one-year contract, allowing the Wild to acquire him at relatively low cost.
The pick sent to Edmonton was originally acquired last year from Buffalo in the trade that brought first line right wing Jason Pominville to Minnesota.
Rookie Darcy Kuemper has started 15 straight games in goal for the Wild, so Bryzgalov is more for insurance with Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding not at full strength. Backstrom has been bothered by injuries all season, and the 36-year-old has a career-worst 3.02 goals-against average over 21 games.
Harding was superb early in the season, but the 2013 Masterton Trophy winner -- for sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance -- has not played at all in 2014 due to illness related to medication for multiple sclerosis.
Kuemper has tied a Wild rookie record with 11 wins and since Jan. 7 has a 1.70 GAA with two shutouts and a .939 save percentage.
"Obviously the confidence he has now, you can see that," captain Mikko Koivu said on Monday after the Wild beat Calgary for their fifth straight win to improve to 9-2-2 in their last 13 games. "The edge he's playing with, it is good to see. He's playing winning hockey right now, so obviously that's a huge part of the team."
Bryzgalov has 38 games of playoff experience over five postseasons with Anaheim, Phoenix and Philadelphia, including three stellar starts against the Wild in the Western Conference quarterfinals in 2007. He stopped 73 of 77 shots in the first three games of that series, all Ducks victories. Bryzgalov struggled in defeat in the next game, Jean-Sebastien Giguere replaced him thereafter and the Ducks went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Bryzgalov's career record is 213-157-50, including a 42-20-6 mark for the Coyotes during the 2009-10 season, his best in the NHL. He had a 2.29 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
Then came his ill-fated time in Philadelphia, though. The Flyers signed him to a $51 million, nine-year contract in 2011 and used a salary cap compliance buyout to release him last June, just two seasons into the megadeal. General manager Paul Holmgren said then the contract was "a costly mistake." Bryzgalov didn't sign with the Oilers until last November.
After signing goalie Ben Scrivens to a two-year contract extension last week, the Oilers took their first step away from Bryzgalov. Then they acquired goalie Viktor Fasth, also on Tuesday, from Anaheim for a fifth-round draft pick this summer and a third-round selection in 2015.
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