Can Shea Weber help Bryzgalov?

Even with an improved defense, Flyers G remains a question mark

Originally Published: July 23, 2012
By Neil Greenberg | Special to ESPN Insider
Ilya BryzgalovEric Hartline/US PresswireThe 2011-12 season was a long one for Ilya Bryzgalov.

Fresh off the heels of losing unrestricted free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild, the Nashville Predators also could lose restricted free agent Shea Weber, their other premier defender, to Philadelphia after he signed the Flyers' $110 million, 14-year offer sheet.

That sounds like good news for Ilya Bryzgalov, who after signing a nine-year, $51 million contract last offseason was not only benched for the 2012 Winter Classic due to inconsistent play, but he was terrible in the playoffs this past spring, posting a woeful .887 save percentage and 3.46 GAA.

"What I lived through this season I wouldn't wish to an enemy," Bryzgalov told a reporter from Sovetsky Sport, a Russian daily newspaper, after the Flyers' elimination in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

But can Weber, a three-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy finalist, help return Bryzgalov to at least an average level of performance? Could anyone?

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.