Signaling their inability to get anything in return for their expendable backup goaltender, the Ducks put Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers Friday to give him a chance at earning a starting job elsewhere.
General Manager Brian Burke informed Bryzgalov of the move after Thursday night's 6-3 victory over the Kings at Staples Center. Bryzgalov headed to his Yorba Linda home after saying goodbye to teammates.
Bryzgalov has been the backup to Jean-Sebastien Giguere for more than two seasons. This season, the Russian netminder has gone 2-3-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average in nine games.
Agent Don Meehan said his client wanted a clearer shot at becoming a No. 1 goalie with Jean-Sebastien Giguere entrenched in Anaheim. Teams have until 9 a.m. today to put in a waiver claim.
"I've had discussions with Brian probably over the past year," Meehan said. "He's always promised us if it didn't work out in Anaheim, he'd give him an opportunity to go somewhere else. Brian followed through on his word."
Bryzgalov, 27, has been on the market since June when the Ducks signed Giguere to a four-year, $24-million contract extension containing a full no-trade clause after his strong playoff performance in their run to their first Stanley Cup title.
Over the summer, Burke said he would trade Bryzgalov if he could make the right deal. None materialized.
"I said I would find him a place to play," Burke said. "He's a good kid. He deserves a place to play."
Burke said Bryzgalov's availability attracted considerable interest but no offer came his way, even as he made a last-ditch attempt late Thursday with another general manager he would not identify.
"I didn't turn down one offer on him," Burke said. "A lot of guys were kicking tires and there were lots of guys calling."
Bryzgalov was making $1,365,000 this season in the final year of a two-year contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent in July and he probably will command much more despite his backup status.
Burke said he asked Meehan about signing Bryzgalov to an extension and then trading him but that the goalie only wanted to talk contract with his new team.
Meehan would only confirm the discussion took place.
Still, Burke said he was surprised that no legitimate offers came his way, given that he stood out in the last two Stanley Cup playoffs while Giguere was injured or tending to family issues.
In 69 career games, Bryzgalov is 26-23-8 with two shutouts, a 2.48 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage. The postseason numbers are even better: 9-5 record, 1.68 goals-against average.
Bryzgalov's three consecutive playoff shutouts in 2006 tied an NHL record and his postseason shutout streak of 249 minutes 15 seconds is second all-time.
"It doesn't add up," Burke said. "I am puzzled by it. I'll be shocked if someone doesn't claim him."
If Bryzgalov isn't claimed, he will be sent to the Ducks' minor-league affiliate in Portland, Maine. Meehan was confident that the goalie will land in another NHL city by the deadline.
"We hope that by [today], we'll have an opportunity to have another place that Ilya can call home," he said. "We have no ill feelings. Ilya had been happy in Anaheim."
The move now makes Jonas Hiller the backup to Giguere. Signed out of his native Switzerland on May 25, Hiller was recalled from Portland and will be on the bench for tonight's game in San Jose against the Sharks.
Hiller went 3-2-1 in six games with Portland, compiling an impressive 2.11 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. The 25-year-old made two starts in the season's first week, winning his NHL debut Oct. 30 against the Kings in London.
"We believe in Jonas Hiller," Burke said. "We didn't sign Jonas Hiller to play in Portland."
Meanwhile, the Ducks practiced in San Jose on Friday but not everyone took part.
Defenseman Mathieu Schneider didn't skate after sitting out Thursday's game because of a sore hip and is questionable for tonight's game. Center Samuel Pahlsson was also given a "maintenance" day by Coach Randy Carlyle.
at San Jose, 7:30, FSN Prime
Radio -- 830.
Site -- HP Pavilion.
Records -- Ducks 9-8-3, Sharks 11-7-2.
Update -- The second-place Ducks trail the Sharks by three points in the Pacific Division.