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September 30, 2014

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Reports: Wranglers close to signing NHL goalie from last season

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philadelphia Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov in action during an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Philadelphia.

The Las Vegas Wranglers are making national hockey news today.

CBSSports.com and other outlets are reporting the Wranglers are close to signing goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who played last season with the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL.

Bryzgalov made $5.667 million last season with the Flyers, but the team used its amnesty buyout to shed his contract.

Unable to find a home, it appears Bryzgalov is heading to the ECHL with the hometown Wranglers. He’s dropping two levels of competition, which drew criticism from national writers. It’s uncertain whether Bryzgalov had more attractive options, but it seems unlikely.

“It seems like a long shot in so many different ways — would he really be able to show teams what he’s got from the ECHL? — but at this point, he might not have any other options,” wrote Brian Stubits, a CBSSports.com hockey writer.

Bryzgalov, 33, has played in 429 career NHL games, recording 30 shutouts with a career 2.55 goals-against-average. Last year in 40 games with Philly, he had a 2.79 goals-against-average in surrendering 107 goals.

He’s also played with Anaheim and Phoenix, and was part of Anaheim’s 2007 Stanley Cup champion team as the Ducks’ backup netminder.

The CBS story also details some of the Wranglers’ wacky promotions — in Las Vegas, we’ve come to love the annual midnight game and other events that always seems to grab national headlines.

The signing of Bryzgalov could be one of those ploys. Or he could give the Wranglers an edge in goal.

We’ll find out soon. The pucks drops Oct. 19 on a new season.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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