Somehow Habs GM seem to have missed what should have been big news: Ilya Bryzgalov placed on waivers by the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, and subsequently picked up by the goalie starved and division rival Phoenix Coyotes.
This was a real stunner to me. It's well known that the Ducks were stacked with talent between the pipes. I think the Ducks could have won the Cup with either Bryzgalov or Giguere last year. In fact, Bryzgalov played the early rounds until Giguere was ready to come back.
I can understand not wanting to keep him, maybe for salary cap reasons. But why not trade him? Placing a player of his caliber on waivers almost guarantees someone will pick him up, and you get nothing in return -- except the salary cap space.
And Brian Burke had to have known that Phoenix would be licking their chops (like a rabid coyote?) if they had the chance to grab Bryzgalov. After all, this is the same team that signed David Aebischer to a free-agent contract. I feel bad for Abby and how he imploded last year, but man, that's desperate.
And what has Bryzgalov done since landing in the Valley of the Sun? He's won every one of this three starts, after the Coyotes got shut out by the Sharks back-to-back. It's only three games, but he's got a 1.30 GAA and .952 save percentage -- including a shootout win over his former team last night. That's gotta hurt.
What would Habs GM have done? Try to swing a deal to an Eastern Conference team. The East teams most in need of goaltending help would be the Leafs, Thrashers or Lightning. Maybe Burke would have gotten only a draft pick or two out of the deal. But at least it would be something. And then he'd only have face his former goaltender once every other year, instead of potentially 8 times or more with the Coyotes.
And I thought Burke was a genius for putting together that Pronger trade. Maybe Stanley Cup hangovers affect GM's too.