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Ilya Bryzgalov reaches agreement with Edmonton Oilers

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Ilya Bryzgalov has reportedly signed with the Oilers. (USATSI)
Ilya Bryzgalov has reportedly signed with the Oilers. (USATSI)

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Ilya Bryzgalov has reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers pending the completion of a trade between the Oilers and Calgary Flames, the club announced.

Earlier Friday evening the Oilers announced they had traded defenseman Ladislav Smid and goaltending prospect Olivier Roy to Calgary for prospects Laurent Brossoit and Roman Horak.

Mired in last place in the Western Conference, the Oilers needed help in net with starter Devan Dubnyk off to a rough start to the season in which he has posted an .878 save percentage.

It's uncertain just how much of an upgrade Bryzgalov will be. He hasn't played the first month of the season after not finding any takers after being bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers over the summer.

Additionally, the 33-year-old netminder is coming off the worst season of his career with a .900 save percentage and 2.79 goals-against average in 40 appearances with the Flyers.

Bryzgalov trained a bit before the season began with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL, but did not play any games. There could be some rust to shake off, but how fun would it be to see Bryzgalov suit up for the Oilers in Philadelphia Saturday night? I'm not holding my breath, but that would be pretty juicy.

This is a clear and unfortunate message to Dubnyk though. The team has lost faith in the 27-year-old former first-round pick after years of paying his dues in the minors and as a backup. He also put together a pretty strong season last year.

The Oilers rebuild has been anything but smoothe, but this might be the kind of panic move that only further derails it. With only a one-year commitment to Bryzgalov, it might give Dubnyk the chance to get himself right, but it could also have the opposite effect on the young netminder.

Additionally, by shipping out Smid, the Oilers are down one of their most sound defensive players. The blue line has not been a point of strength this year as it is. Now they're down a veteran blueliner.

It's a big gamble, especially for a team that might not even come close to making the playoffs this year.

And, by the way, you may remember Ilya Bryzgalov's "Why you heff to be mad?" interview. Well, that was about Chris Pronger leaving Edmonton.

Among the reasons Bryz thought Pronger may have left? "Here is like North Pole."

Welcome to the cold, hard reality of being an Edmonton Oiler, Bryz.

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