Every summer we see teams throw out money at prized free agents. The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers were not shy about paying big bucks last summer to do what they thought would put their team over the hump and make them serious Stanley Cup contenders. When that much money is given to one guy, patience to see what he can do is not expected from fans and even coaches, but it really is necessary as shown this season.
Brad Richards signed with the Rangers for 9 years and $60 million.
Ilya Bryzgalov signed with the Flyers for 9 years and $51 million.
Richards has 21 goals and 29 assists for a point total of 50 while Bryzgalov has a GAA of 2.59 and SV% of .907 with 27 wins in 49 games. These are good numbers especially after some inconsistency for the both of them.
If you ask Rangers and Flyers fans about these two guys you well get differing opinions depending on who you ask.
@kaboom23 and @NYR_Bacon are not overly impressed with the Rangers’ signing and see Richards as streaky and underwhelming while @Pat_Egan loves the signing and believes that Richards has helped improve Callahan’s play.
As for Bryzgalov, many Flyers fans are hopping on the bandwagon right now but a lot were not happy with his play at all prior to a few weeks ago. Some still hold the contract against him any time he lets in a goal.
The Rangers lead the Atlantic division right now and the Flyers are still in the chase to take over that lead. You have to believe that both teams are capable of making a playoff run with the success that they have had this season. That success and continuing success goes back to the two huge signings the teams made over the summer.
Chemistry isn’t going to happen immediately and coming from cities like Dallas and Phoenix to under the spotlight in New York and Philadelphia is such a big change. Of course when that much money is given to one guy, there is going to be pressure and fans are going to want immediate production or success.
But the key really is patience. This is the time of year when players step up and turn into heroes for their teams. Brad Richards has Stanley Cup experience and he knows what is expected of him in the coming months. He has become more consistent lately and there’s plenty of reasons to believe that he will continue that and show New York fans that signing him was an excellent move by the Rangers. Bryzgalov, on the other hand, is really starting to heat up. He seems like he now understands what it’s like to play in Philadelphia and how to handle that while focusing on what he does between the pipes. If he continues to play the way he has recently, then the Flyers are going to be a big threat in the playoffs as should the Rangers.