Monday, May 4, 2009

Goaltender Ray Emery is on the Flyers radar, let's hope they stay away

After a quick exit out of the playoffs, the Flyers have some serious work to do to in the offseason to fix all of the holes on their roster. The Flyers find themselves with too many forwards signed to big, long term contracts and not enough quality defensemen on the roster. They somehow need to turn a forward or two into solid defensive players. Of course, their biggest need in the offseason is a starting goaltender, since currently they don't even have a goalie on the roster: both Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki are unrestricted free agents.

While common sense would point to the Flyers re-signing Biron and allowing recently signed Johan Backlund be the back-up when Niittymaki signs elsewhere, apparently the Flyers are looking at other options. Rumors have surfaced that the Flyers have had discussions with hothead goaltender Ray Emery, formerly of the Ottawa Senators, with the idea of bringing him in as the starting goaltender. Emery did lead the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but has since been basically banished to the KHL, a Russian League, after Ottawa waived him for poor play and bad off-ice behavior in 2008. Emery did have a stellar season in the KHL, putting up a 22-8 record and a sparkling 2.12 goals against average, and by all reports his behavior has improved. Still, how can the Flyers be seriously considering handing this guy the keys to the net?

If Emery has straightened out his act, he can be a good goaltender in the NHL. That's a mighty big if, though, and it's a huge risk for a team that has so many good, young players and appears to be on the doorstep of being an elite team. Is Martin Biron really that bad? At least with Marty, you know he's a team guy, even if his play has been uneven. I'd rather have a guy like Biron in net even if his level of play is a little lower than a guy like Emery, who has the potential to completely disrupt the team.

Ray Emery should only be a desperation option for the Flyers. If both Antero Niittymaki and Martin Biron sign elsewhere, or if they are asking for too much money, then the Flyers should take a risk with someone like Emery. Otherwise, there is no sense in ruining the team chemistry and bringing in Emery just for the small chance that he has straightened himself out. Let another team ruin their season by wasting their time and money on Ray Emery. Move along, Flyers.

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