The Edmonton Oilers have recalled netminder Ilya Bryzgalov from the Oklahoma City Barons and he will re-join the big club today. It’s still unclear if the Russian goalie will get the start between the pipes on Tuesday when the Columbus Blue Jackets invade Rexall Place, but it’s worth asking the question; will Ilya Bryzgalov help the Oilers?
If nothing else, he’ll be a good backup for Devan Dubnyk who has played better of late despite not picking up as many wins as fans would like. Saturday night he made 33 saves for the huge win over the Calgary Flames and perhaps bought himself another start. With a save percentage not dipping below .919 in any of his last three starts, perhaps this competition from Bryzgalov is just what he needed to turn his own play around.
But for Bryzgalov, his motivation his simple. Perform well from now until the end of the regular season and hope for a multi-year deal next summer as a free-agent. Truth be told, the former Flyer’s netminder has nothing to lose in Edmonton and his stint with the Oilers is nothing more than a 60 game audition to resurrect his career. He’s using the Oilers and perhaps the Oilers are using him, something fans will be fine with if he can stop the puck.
Will he help the Oilers immediately? It’s hard to say and fans may have to wait a game or two before they get their first look at him between the Edmonton pipes in something other than warm up.
He can play, there’s no doubt about that. His antics with the Flyers last year certainly soured his reputation around the league and now he’s on a one-year deal, trying to prove to the rest of the hockey world that he still has value.
If the Bryzgalov that backstopped the Phoenix Coyotes to 42 wins in the 2009-10 season shows up then absolutely yes, he will help the Oilers. But if the netminder that allowed some weak goals in Philadelphia last season is the one who the Oilers signed, well, it will be another straw attempting to break the camels back in what has been a pitiful year in Edmonton.
Time will tell which goalie shows up for the Oilers so in the mean time, you be the judge and jury by taking part in our daily poll.