To call him an interesting personality would be an understatement. But regardless of how you see Ilya Bryzgalov, you may get a chance to see the HBO 24/7 star in the NHL again – possibly.
According to The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton, Bryzgalov has an interest in returning to the NHL after having played just 40 games over the past three seasons. Bryzgalov didn’t play at a professional level during the 2015-16 season, but believes that his come back could be triggered by his absence from the game.
“I see it as a fresh start,” said Bryzgalov to NHLPA.com’s Chris Lomon. “I feel like I’m 21 again and just coming into the NHL. I have a hunger to play and to face the challenges that come with playing in this league. I’ve been missing that.”
Bryzgalov will receive $1.64 million per season over the next 11 years thanks to his buyout from the Philadelphia Flyers in 2013. With that, the free agent goaltender has admitted that he’s willing to play for a reasonable salary if an NHL team takes a chance on him.
Another reason the 35-year-old is looking to get back into the game is to share the experience with his 10-year-old son.
“When I told my son I was looking to play in the NHL again, his eyes lit up,” he said to Lomon. “He was so excited. Now he’s older and he understands the game more. It would be great if he could watch me play again, maybe to learn some things that can help him.”
In 465 career regular season games in the NHL, Bryzgalov had a record of 221-162-54 with a 2.58 goals against average, a .912 save percentage and 34 shutouts. He also played 47 playoff games with Anaheim, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Minnesota.
Wherever he lands, it’s likely that Bryzgalov will have to earn his spot on a tryout basis.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.