Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Goodbye, Marty: Flyers to sign Ray Emery

Well, the Flyers didn't take my advice. Back in May, rumors began to surface that the Flyers were in discussions with goaltender Ray Emery about being the starter in net for the Flyers next season. Emery is a headcase who has been essentially banished to Russia, so I advised the Flyers to stay away from Emery and his poor attitude. Unfortunately they didn't listen to me, and it appears that Emery is headed to Philadelphia, which means we can say goodbye to both free agent goalies Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki.

According to Tim Panaccio, word has spread around the NHL that the Flyers are deep in discussions with Emery and, barring a last-minute breakdown, will sign the goalie when free agency opens in July. Emery last played for a team in the KHL, a Russian League, after being waived by the Ottawa Senators in 2008 for his poor off-ice behavior. He led the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, so he has the ability, it's simply a question of whether he can straighten up and play his best and not be a distraction.

This move could easily turn out to be a coup for the Flyers, or it could blow up in their face. I would guess that Emery is willing to play for less than the Flyers would have had to sign Marty Biron for, so they will save some money to be used on other players. But, if Emery should be the distraction he was in Ottawa, the Flyers will be left with no one to step in, since the backup is likely going to be Johan Backlund, also signed away from a non-NHL team.

The Flyers are employing an interesting, although backwards, strategy with their goaltenders. The signing of Emery screams of a move to save salary by signing someone out of the league, and that gives them two goaltenders for next year that are relatively cheap. The Flyers are choosing to spend as little money as possible on goaltending, which just so happens to be the most important position in hockey. If this gamble pays off, they will look like geniuses. If it doesn't, Paul Holmgren should be fired.


T-Bone said...

Always thought Biron was no better than slightly above mediocre, with whatever "rep" he has based on a few hot showings in last year's playoffs -- showings which quickly flamed out as soon as the '08-'09 season began. Having said that, though, the fact is that Emery is a certifiable lunatic. The guy has had drug and anger management issues up the wazoo his entire career. This season with the Russian team he attacked his team's trainer on the bench, even following him down the aisle to the lockers to smack him around some more. As a result -- and you can't make this stuff up -- he was temporarily "re-assigned" to the team's affiliate in Siberia!! This guy is trouble with a Capital T, and I can't imagine what the hell Homer is thinking even considering this wingnut.

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