I'm probably not breaking new ground here.... but I've loved what I've seen from Bryz.
When I look at what he brings- solid goaltending, veteran leadership... there's one other guy we have who brings those things (arguably) and that is Backstrom. Alert the media, Backstrom has struggled this season- and last season. He's been injured, inconsistent, and just generally not the Backy of old.
Bryz, on the other hand, has been pretty great.
Granted, this is a teeny-tiny sample size (9 games in the green and red), but Bryz has the 2nd highest Save Percentage (.920) and 2nd-lowest Goals Allowed (1.87) on the team- both behind Harding (who leads the NHL, statistically speaking).
Backstrom, on the other hand, as an SV% of .899 and an GAA of 3.02.
(stats from www.nhl.com)
Further, Bryz has the same number of wins in 9 starts as Backstrom has in 21. That's pretty telling in and of itself- especially considering who these wins have been against- Pittsburg, LA Kings, Detroit, Islanders, and Phoenix. Of those, only the Islanders are what I would call a 'bad' team. Phoenix obviously we SHOULD beat, but Pittsburg and LA are pretty solid organizations. Albeit, Pittsburg was bored last night, and Detroit was injury-riddled
Backstrom signed a 3-year deal last year, the Kuemperor is an RFA after this season, Hards has a year left, and Bryz is an UFA after this season, the situation is messy to say the least.
BUT... if there is a way for us to keep El Kuemperino, Bring Back Bryz, and say By to Backs, I'm in favor of it.
As for Hards- obviously the more he can play, the better. My hopes of that happening are not high, however.
So here's the rub: How do we go about unloading Backstrom? Bryz, far as I can tell, is a far superior goaltender, and a solid presence in net. He seems to have calmed down or defense, and has played very well after an understandably rocky start.
Whatever ends up happening, here's to hoping we keep taking steps forward.
To leave you, I submit this to the poetry annals of the HockeyWilderness:
Ah, goaltending: would a position by any other name be as difficult to predict?
Though our forwards be injured, concussed, and bleeding, you saves with your stick.
From Harding to Backy, Kuemper to Bryz, you're there to provide us our playoff bridge,
Dear Craig, lead us onward, to the cup we pray.
To live in victory, however we may.