You Say 'Potato', I Say Ray Emery
I want you to hang with me on this for a second. Don't react, just let it soak in like bath salts and Kenny G.
What if....you with me?....what if the Flyers went after UFA goalie, Ray Emery?
Each passing day has seemed like an eternity since May 6th. The clicking of the unforgiving clock has almost been enough to make me go mad. Sure, there's baseball and the hopes that the NFL lockout quickly decays like an forgotten farm tool. But it's hockey that never quits to chew at the center of my brain, forcing me to relate every discussion to skate blades, vulcanized rubber and the feeling of a Flyers crowd shaking the blood-pumping foundation of my beating heart.
Thank the bearded man above I have an outlet, and that outlet's given me a chance to express the reasoning why Philadelphia going after, and once again, signing Ray Emery would be a sensible move from many angles.
Paul Holmgren's gone on record (thanks to Flyers beat writer, Chuck Gormley) that he wishes to maintain the core he's got and ADD, not subtract. In order to do so, our General Manager must "trim from the bottom of his roster and not the top."
Please consider that last quoted sentence before you ever begin to argue what the Flyers SHOULD do. If Homer sticks to his word, then that means those higher salaries belonging to the young talent/leadership have been deemed untouchable for the time being. The first to go will be lower lined forwards and defensemen with low production and/or who have played their final years on their contracts.
Then come players like Ville Leino and Nikolay Zherdev who both have their own issues to solve with the head office, which is neither here nor there.
Big FA goalie names like Ilya Bryzgalov and Tomas Vokoun have been thrown around and even I have gotten giddy thinking about those possibilities. But to obtain those gentlemens' services we'd have to make a salary dump in the form of a trade. And not to give up too much, we'd have to trade one player with a high-end salary. One who doesn't have an active NTC on his contract. One who plenty of teams would want.
"Trim from the bottom of his roster and not the top." Oh....riiiiiight.
Besides, I never really thought about it this way but DownGoesSpezza.com explains in a mathematical method how trading Carter away for, or to make room for, a top notch A+ netminder would ultimately wind up giving us an even bigger headache. (Read it. It's a really interesting perspective)
Paul Holmgren, Ed Snider, Jeff Reese and the rest of the suits at the top of the Orange & Black totem pole are convinced Sergei Bobrovsky has all the potential of becoming our answer between the pipes in the relatively near future.
I wholeheartedly agree.
The entire reason why we're considering seasoned veterans in the first place is so that we've got a short-term solution in net while Bobrovsky's natural talent has the time it needs to mature. So with that in mind, and considering we'll be making cap room one small discarded salary at a time, we need a proven goaltender at low cost.
There are several candidates, but I believe Ray Emery fits this criteria to a T.
His performance is consistent. Reliable. Sharp. His downside, of course, is his injury proneness.
In his short 2009-10 stay with the Flyers, Ray "Razor" Emery recorded a .905 SV% and a 2.64 GAA in 29 games played.
His NHL career stats are a .908 SV% and a 2.67 GAA since 2002-03. Not too shabby for a veteran goaltender with only coming off of a $500K cap hit, right?
What's the catch?
If you recall, Razor took an early exit last season due to a major hip injury which wound up being avascular necrosis. Just in case you didn't know, the prefix "necro" means "dead tissue; corpse; death".
Avascular Necrosis "occurs when part of the bone does not get blood and dies. After a while the bone can break off. If this condition is not treated, bone damage gets worse. Eventually, the affected part of the bone may collapse" ~ source
Fortunately for Emery....it did NOT go untreated. He underwent a bone graft, a full remodeling of his hip joint, rehabilitation, defeated the odds against him and returned to the NHL as an Anaheim Duck. Not only did Ray return, but "he went 7-2-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 10 games to help the Ducks reach the playoffs" and became one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy Award.
That's one incredibly great sign that Ray's recovery and rehab was a success.
Be that as it may, his injury still makes him a liability and limits him from a solid, big time contract. But if he stays healthy I believe Emery would suit the empty role the Flyers are looking to fill. With all the factors I explained, the front office is more willing to take THAT risk than trading away Carter (or any other high-end player) to make room for a Bryzgalov or a Vokoun.
I know we're tired of the gambles our beloved organization's taken in net over the better part of two decades. And Emery may not be the solution we all had in mind. But given all the listed circumstances Razor's one of the best able to come to the call.
Hey...that's just my opinion.