Ray Emery played well enough to be a starting goaltender, if not for Corey Crawford already having the job. Now he could get that chance in a familiar setting.
Emery, who made a great one-two punch with Crawford for the Chicago Blackhawks, signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers worth $1.65 million Friday. Emery posted a 17-1-0 mark with a 1.94 goals-against average this past season with the Blackhawks; he and Crawford combined to win the William B. Jennings Trophy for the fewest number of goals allowed.
It’ll be familiar territory for Emery, who spent the 2009-10 season with the Flyers. Emery should have a chance to compete for the No. 1 job there. The Flyers bought out Ilya Bryzgalov and will now look to Emery and Steve Mason for goaltending duties. If Emery’s anywhere near the goaltender he was as the Blackhawks’ backup this past season, he’ll grab that No. 1 spot.
It was during his time in Philly that Emery was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a disease that led to hip surgery and a long rehabilitation. Emery came back from that valiantly, first with the Anaheim Ducks before signing with the Blackhawks entering the 2011-12 season.
[CSN Philly: Flyers sign goalie Ray Emery to one-year deal]
As for the Blackhawks, they’ll have to look elsewhere for backup goaltenders. The Blackhawks signed Annti Raanta to an entry-level deal in June, but he might not be ready to step into that role yet. He’ll have to adjust to the North American-sized ice surface, and general manager Stan Bowman said, if it’s necessary, he’ll give Raanta time to do that. Carter Hutton, who played in Rockford last season, signed a one-year deal with the Nashville Predators. There are some veterans out there; it may not be a bad idea to give Johan Hedberg a look. Hedberg, who was bought out by the New Jersey Devils, is a veteran and was a strong backup for the Devils the past few seasons.