By Allan Muir
Multiple sources are reporting that former Chicago Blackhawks backup goaltender Ray Emery will sign with the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon.
It’s a one-year deal that will pay him $1.65 million.
Emery was an astonishing 17-1 with the Hawks this season, but those were heavily protected results and he had no chance of usurping the No. l job from Corey Crawford. He’ll have a legitimate opportunity to earn that responsibility in Philadelphia, where he previously played during the 2009-10 season, going 16-11-1.
He’ll battle Steve Mason, who had a 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage in seven games with Philly after being acquired from Columbus at the deadline. Neither is expected to maintain those kind of numbers over a complete season, but the hope is that the competition will drive each man to his best performance.
While Emery is a rasonable add for Philly, they really had no other legitimate options. With virtually no room available under the salary cap, the Flyers were limited to investing just over $3 million in their two keepers. Once Boston signs Tuukka Rask and Toronto inks Jonathan Bernier, Philadelphia will have the lowest-paid tandem in the league.
The duo may offer up more consistent goaltending than the departed Ilya Bryzgalov and if they do, that’s a huge win for GM Paul Holmgren. But Flyers fans have suffered through seasons of afterthought netminding before. And it hasn’t been pretty.