In one of our new off-season segments, we will be going through the bigger signings the Flyers had this off-season with some history and analysis on what to expect. As the title suggests, first we are going over Ray Emery.
Ray Emery’s recent signing with the Flyers does not mean much to the casual fan but if you follow hockey even a little you know this signing is questionable. What does Holmgren see in Ray Emery? He is nothing short of a risk, at best, with an upside that just is not worth the potential cost. Whether it is the NHL or the KHL, wherever Emery goes trouble follows.
After the Senators surprising run to the Cup finals, Emery was handed a three year, $9.5 million dollar extension. His play surprised everyone, even the then starter, Martin Gerber. Gerber thought his position was secure until Emery swooped in with his play down the stretch to win the number one spot. The season was almost a loss until Emery stepped in to turn things around.
Few people were willing to blame Ray for anything last season – after all, he was looked upon as the catalyst behind the Sens’ regular season turnaround (a sentiment exacerbated by the team’s improved play during the same period). Many also knew that he was playing hurt, and would likely require some rehabilitation and repair during the summer.
After his brilliance in the playoffs, the following season treated Emery harshly. Things stopped going his way and it was starting to become a problem for the young goalie. Emery’s patience was starting to get tested and he was having a hard time dealing with it.
Apparently Emery felt the constant demands were open to interpretation when he decided to throw a diva-like fit (which included the tossing of his stick into the stands) during Thursday’s practice.
During a routine TEAM [I emphasize team] practice, then teammate Brian McGrattan cut in front of Emery while he was circling the net during a skating drill. Emery took offense to the gesture and went after McGrattan, threatening and punching him.
During practice, Brian McGrattan cut in front of Emery while they were circling the net during an extended skating drill. Emery hurled some verbal unpleasantries at McGrattan. When the skating stopped, the fisticuffs began.
McGrattan is not the only player on the Senators that Emery got into scuffles with. The list also includes Jason Spezza and Chris Neil. As good as Emery is, “he’s just one of those guys you do not want anywhere near your hockey team.”
So, the Senators had enough of Emery, and did what they could to get rid of him:
Last spring, the Senators were a little fed up with Razor Ray’s shenanigans so they bought out the remaining two years of his three-year, $9.5-million deal. Then they waived him. Waved bye-bye to him.
That quick after he was signed, the Senators ate $6 million and change to rid themselves of the goalie that took them to the Stanley Cup finals the year before. After this come uppance, Emery recollected himself and decided to start anew in the KHL. The Russian league was on the upstart and was hungry to poach players from the NHL so it made sense for him to give it a shot.
It did not take Emery long to make enemies in the KHL either. Not with teammates this time, but with his trainer.
As the viewer can see, something as little as being told to put a hat on set him off into a punch throwing rage. Settling, right?
After a year in the KHL, Emery started back on the road to the NHL. This is where the Flyers come into play. Apparently Holmgren is looking to recapture the Hextall days of old when the Flyers had a solid number one goalie who did not take anything from anyone. That is all fine and great except Emery is not Hextall. As volatile as Hextall was in the net, was there ever an incident when Hextall went after his OWN players or coaches? Hextall dished out his brand of justice to who deserved it.
So, after reviewing Emery’s history, what was Holmgren thinking when he signed Emery to the one year contract, $1.5 million dollar contract? Is it just another temporary fix to a long term problem? Holmgren needs to look the draft and find a goalie that is going to be the Flyers new number one, not put his money on a one year rental. They need to go out and find a guy like a Quick, Rinne, or the holy grail of them all, Mason. No goalie worth anything is going to hit the free agent market. They should be signed before it even has to come to that (Backstrom, for example).
If Emery can keep his yap shut and his temper under control, while playing up to the level he did when the Sens made their cup run then a lot of good can come out of this signing. But if he reverts back to what seems to be his typical ways, which is what his past actions are pointing directly at, then the Flyers made a huge mistake in signing him because he will create animosity in the locker room.
Good thing they have Boucher waiting in the wings, right?