The Philadelphia Flyers are banking on Ilya Bryzgalov being the elite goaltender that they've sought for so long.
The 31-year-old, whose rights were acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes earlier this month, avoided free agency by signing a nine-year, $51 million deal with Philadelphia.
He posted a 36-20-10 record with the Coyotes last season, but was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Red Wings. Bryzgalov had a career year in 2009-10, when he racked up a career-high 42 wins.
This will be his sixth season in the NHL. He broke into the league with the Anaheim Ducks, but was picked up on waivers by Phoenix midway through his second season.
In 326 career games, he has a record of 156-116-35, with a .916 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average and 23 shutouts.
The deal will pay Bryzgalov a $5 million salary this season plus a $5 million signing bonus. The most valuable season in the deal is 2013-14, when he will earn $8 million, and the contract ends after the 2019-20 campaign when Bryzgalov will be nearly 40, and earn $1.25 million.