Former Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov back for tryout as backup

Ilya Bryzgalov, Jason Chimera
Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, left, makes a save against Columbus’ Jason Chimera back in 2007.
(Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)

The Ducks signed their former goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a tryout contract Wednesday after learning that backup Jason LaBarbera suffered a broken hand Saturday in San Jose and will be out for two to three weeks.

In addition to LaBarbera’s injury, the Ducks learned that defenseman Eric Brewer, who blocked three shots in Monday’s 3-2 victory over Boston, suffered a broken bone in his foot and will miss four to six weeks.

As Anaheim waits on injured goalie John Gibson to recover from a groin injury, with a return date targeted by mid-to-late December, Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen is expected to play in his 13th consecutive game Wednesday against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

The current backup is Igor Bobkov, who has struggled at minor-league Norfolk.


So bringing in Bryzgalov, 34, provides insurance that could allow Gibson time to reach full health without rushing back.

Bryzgalov and the Ducks have already begun talking contract terms, and his first return appearance on Anaheim ice since being waived in 2007 could come Thursday, when injured players practice at Honda Center.

He will not accompany the Ducks on their two-game trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg, a team spokesman said.

The tryout contract is akin to a mini-training camp session for Bryzgalov to show the Ducks what he can do.


Bryzgalov was a second-round pick of the Ducks in 2000, playing 69 games with a goals-against average of 2.48.

He won three playoff games in the Stanley Cup-winning season of 2006-07, and posted six victories while tying an NHL record with three consecutive shutouts (including a Game 7 Western Conference first-round victory in Calgary) in the 2005-06 postseason.

He later played for Phoenix, Edmonton, Philadelphia and Minnesota, going 7-1 for the Wild last season.

“Anytime you can add depth, it’ll be good for us,” Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf said. “Bryz was great when he was here. He enjoys the game. Always a fun guy.

“Hopefully, he realizes he has an opportunity to play in the NHL again. He’s proven he can do it, step in and help a team.”

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s begun to limit Andersen’s practice time to ensure he’s as fresh as possible for games. As the team has been racked by defensive injuries, the Ducks have allowed at least 34 shots on goal in the last four games.

“Freddie’s a big, strong guy … we’ll keep going until we see where everything ends up,” Boudreau said.

Of Bryzgalov, he said, “The one thing I do know about him is that he stops the puck .… If he’s still in shape, he’s a really good goaltender.”


Blue-line update: After playing just two games with the Ducks since his Friday trade from Tampa Bay, Brewer, 35, has joined defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Francois Beauchemin (broken fingers) on the sideline.

“Seems like a new guy every day,” Boudreau said of the defensive injuries. “But when you block 28 shots [Monday] and pay the price, you usually win. That’s what good, character guys do. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the sport.”

Meanwhile, previously sidelined defensemen Clayton Stoner (mumps) and Mark Fistric (back) skated Wednesday, and Stoner said he would play Wednesday night.

Rookies Josh Manson and Mat Clark are expected to remain in the lineup as Fistric takes another game off. He will accompany the Ducks on the trip to Minnesota and Winnipeg.

“Bigger guy, out for a while [since Oct. 30], takes a little bit to get back up to speed,” Fistric said. “Tough to throw everyone back into the fire, but I feel good.”

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