Archive for Ray Emery

Emery Shut Down – Now What?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 11, 2010 by flyersfan44

Enjoying another blizzard in the Philadelphia area – two feet of snow yesterday on top of two feet of snow five days ago. We have boards four feet high on our school’s roller hockey rink and the snow is at the top of them! Meanwhile, the Flyers have iced Ray Emery, putting the goalie on the shelf for three weeks to see if his injured hip responds to rest. That forces the question about the Flyers’ goalie situation for the stretch run. If Emery cannot play after the rest period, do the Flyers acquire a goalie via trade or go with Michael Leighton? Rumors have circulated about Flyers’ interest in Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak, Dallas’ Marty Turco, and the Islanders’ Marty Biron – remember him? Leighton, claimed off the scrap heap earlier this season, has been great with the Flyers, going 10-3-1 with a 2.21 GAA and a .925 save percentage. But is he the guy to carry the team down the stretch and in the playoffs?

OK, let’s think: Emery won’t be able to carry the load when his rest is over. He may have a torn labrum, they expect that he’ll need surgery in the summer, so they’re just trying to get him through the season. Hips don’t usually respond to rest. So don’t expect that Emery will be able to go far in March.

Can we afford to acquire a #1 goalie without hurting ourselves at forward or defense? Probably not. Forget about Turco – he’s got a huge contract and is in the twilight of his career. Halak is playing well now, but remember him in the playoffs against the Flyers a couple years ago? Biron we could get for cheap, but I thought everyone agreed that he wasn’t the guy (at least for the salary he was looking for).

Do we have a legitimate shot at the Cup this season? Despite two nice wins over the Devils this week, this team hasn’t shown the consistency necessary plus they haven’t shown that the players they have now can compete with the elite. They’re ten points behind last year’s pace.

No, we ride Michael Leighton through the end of the season, pack it up in April, and then make some major moves with personnel over the summer. Dump the high salaried-low production-no effort guys, look at trading for or signing a bona fide #1 goalie like Ilya Bryzgalov and start it over again.

In the meantime, let’s play in the snow.

Leighton or Emery vs. Capitals?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 16, 2010 by flyersfan44

Ray Emery

Michael Leighton

With number one goalie Ray Emery recovering from abdominal surgery and backup Brian Boucher injuring his finger, the Flyers picked up journeyman goalie Michael Leighton off waivers from Carolina as a temporary fill-in. Surprisingly, Leighton got hot and went 8-1-1, fueling a Flyers turnaround from a dismal month-long slump. Now with Emery healed and ready to go and Leighton losing to Toronto on Thursday, do they stay with Leighton or give the job back to Emery? Leighton couldn’t really be faulted for the loss against the Leafs but you’ve got to figure that Emery is expected to be the goalie for the stretch run and playoffs (if we make the playoffs). On the other hand, if Leighton is still the hot guy and we need points, maybe he stays in net for now. And does a possibly rusty Emery go in against Ovechkin and company? It will be interesting to see who gets the start and how the goalie situation plays itself out over the next couple of weeks.

Emery In, Biron Out as Revolving Door of Goalies Continues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 11, 2009 by flyersfan44
New Flyers goalie Ray Emery with Jeff Carter

New Flyers goalie Ray Emery with Jeff Carter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Flyers announced yesterday their intention to sign free agent goalie Ray Emery to a one year contract on July 1.  Speculated for several weeks, the move means that Marty Biron’s days as a Flyer have come to an end.  Evidently, Biron was seeking more money in contract talks than the Flyers were willing to pay, and will look to sign elsewhere after July 1.  Emery’s signing for $1.5 million per season is a significant savings for the Flyers, as Biron was making $3 million per season as was reportedly asking for a long-term deal worth around $4 million per season.  The Flyers believe that they are getting a goalie of about the same level as Biron for much less money. 

This is a risk for the Flyers because Emery had difficulties in Ottawa, fighting with teammates and being late to practices as well as off-ice incidents.  As a result, the Senators released him during the 2007-08 season and he played last year in Russia.  Although he took the Senators to the Cup finals in 2006-07, his antics became a distraction and not something the Senators wanted to continue to tolerate.  The Flyers are gambling that Emery has put the nonsense behind him and has matured.  Time will tell.  If he has grown up, the Flyers may have made a good deal. His numbers are about the same as Biron’s and his fiery demeanor (if channeled correctly) could light a fire under this laid back Flyers team.  I am sorry to see Biron go, he played well in the playoffs last year and even this season, and I was hoping he would be given another couple years with this team.  Having met him on numerous occasions, he was always approachable and friendly, even in the locker room after a loss.  Hopefully, he’ll find a good situation wherever he ends up (back in Buffalo?).

As for the Flyers, the revolving door of goalies continues.  It’s definitely not easy to find a franchise goalie capable of taking a team to the Stanley Cup. Bernie Parent did it, Pelle Lindbergh probably would have done it had he not died tragically, and Ron Hextall almost did it.  Not since Hextall have the Flyers had a stellar netminder.  They have not had much success in drafting and grooming goalies. Let’s take a look at their recent goalie draft history up to 2005 so as to allow time for goalie development:

Goalie Drafted

Year

Round

Number Overall

Dominic Roussell

1988

3

63

Tommy Soderstrom

1990

11

214

Neil Little

1991

11

226

Yanick Degrace

1991

5

194

Kirk Daubenspeck

1992

7

151

Tripp Tracey

1993

9

218

Johan Hedberg

1994

9

218

Brian Boucher

1995

1

22

Per-Ragnar Bergkvist

1996

5

124

Jean-Marc Pelletier

1997

2

30

Antero Niitymakki

1998

6

168

Cam Ondrik

1998

7

175

Maxime Ouellet

1999

1

22

Roman Cechmanek

2000

6

171

Roman Malek

2001

5

158

Bernd Bruckler

2001

5

150

Dov Grumet-Morris

2002

5

161

Ville Hostikka

2003

6

193

Rejean Beauchemin

2003

6

191

David Tremblay

2003

5

140

Martin Houle

2004

8

232

Jeremy Duchesne

2005

4

119

Recognize many of those names?  In fact, of the 22 goalies the Flyers drafted between 1988 and 2005, only five have had substantial playing time with the Flyers: Antero Niitymakki, Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher, Tommy Soderstrom, and Dominic Roussell. None of them emerged as a stellar goaltender and only three – Niitymakki, Boucher, and Johan Hedberg (now with Atlanta) – are still in the NHL.  Now, goal is a position that is difficult to project whether a player will pan out and the Flyers have rarely drafted at the top during those years so nabbing a Fleury with a top pick was not really possible. However, there is a fair amount of frustration with the Flyers’ ongoing difficulty in goal that maybe some real attention to that position, either via the draft or trades, is called for. 

In the meantime, with the money they’re saving with Geiko, I mean, Emery, the Flyers should be able to sign a top defenseman or two (Bouwmeester?) that will provide solid play in their own zone – clearing pucks, moving the puck out, covering in front – that will cut down on shots allowed and perhaps make having a stellar netminder not quite as necessary.  Look at Detroit.

Report: Flyers to Sign Goalie Ray Emery on July 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 3, 2009 by flyersfan44

So, my buddy Chick calls this afternoon to tell me he heard that the Flyers are set to sign former Ottawa Senators free agent goalie Ray Emery to a contract on July 1.  I was having a good day up to that point.  I had heard a few weeks ago that the Flyers were interested in Emery and had hoped it was only to gain some leverage in their contract talks with goalie Marty Biron, who becomes a free agent on July 1.  Emery, who has been out of the NHL since he was released by the Senators after difficulty with teammates and management a couple years ago, played this past season in Russia but wants to return to the NHL.  Evidently, he can be signed pretty cheaply (about $1 million per year) and the Flyers would rather go this route than re-sign Biron for the supposedly substantial hike in salary that he wants. 

I think this would be a mistake. I don’t think Emery is that great of a goalie. He had a good season in 2006-07 and took the Senators to the Cup Finals, but the potential downside outweighs the possibility of him returning to that form.  He has been a divisive influence in the locker room, exhibited behavior that became a distraction, and has had substance abuse issues.  This year in Russia, he punched a trainer after being pulled from a game.   Biron has played well with the Flyers, especially in the playoffs, and I would give him another couple years with the team that has been built and that is still developing into a legitimate Cup contender.  If they want to dump salary, look at trading Danny Briere, who is making much more than the value that we have gotten in return.  He missed most of the season with injuries and wasn’t really missed and was a non-factor in the playoffs.  Then use the money saved there and re-sign Biron plus add a solid defenseman.  Granted, it would be tough to unload Briere and his contract but I bet it could be done.

I am still hoping that this report is a ploy to force Biron to sign for a more agreeable sum.  Maybe we should have Biron and Emery fight it out for the spot in the Flyers’ net.  They’ve gone at it before:

Career Stats Compared:

Martin Biron: 433 games played, 199-162-25, 2.59 GAA, .911 save %, 25 shutouts

Ray Emery: 134 games played, 71-40-14, 2.71 GAA, .907 save%, 8 shutouts

Free Agent Possibilities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by flyersfan44

As the Flyers consider moves they can make over the summer to improve the team, potential free agent signings are always considered.  Let’s take a look at some possibilities:

Goaltender:  The big question is whether the Flyers will re-sign Marty Biron, who is an unrestricted free agent.  Many believe that he is not the goalie that can take the team to the Stanley Cup and the Flyers should look to free agency for one that can.  However, consider that teams that have won the Cup lately with stellar goaltending often have had a goalie that they drafted and developed.  Great goalies are not often available in the free agency market.  What goalies better than Biron are available as free agents?  Possibly Jean-Sebastien Giguere of Anaheim and Nikolai Khabibulin of Chicago.  Giguere won the Cup with the Ducks a couple years ago, but he lost his starting job in this year’s playoffs and is 32 years old.  Do the Flyers take a chance that he can regain form and pull a repeat of his magic year with the Ducks?  Khabibulin is even older at 38.  Former Ottawa goalie Ray Emery was mentioned recently as someone the Flyers would be interested in. I hope this is not the case.  He was a difficult person to deal with for the front office, coaching staff, and teammates in Ottawa, has had a substance use issue, and was released by the Senators. He played in Russia this past season where he punched a trainer.  Hopefully the Flyers are using the story that they’re interested in him as leverage to get a favorable deal done with Biron.  Marty is a solid goalie who has performed well in the playoffs the last two years. He stepped up his game in the post-season,and I think that considering what else is available, it makes the most sense to re-sign him for a couple years while they try to develop recently drafted Swedish goalie Jonas Backlund.  In fact, it’s quite possible that Antero Nittymaki will not be re-signed and Backlund will be the back-up to whoever ends up as the number-one guy.

Defenseman: It was widely speculated that the Flyers came close to trading for Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester at the deadline. The Flyers are very interested in him – he’s big (6’4, 212) and has offensive capability (15 goals, 27 assists last year).  He’s also only 25 years of age, but his current salary of $4,800,000 would necessitate the dumping of salary to fit his new deal under the cap.  Flyers beat writer Sam Carchidi likes Montreal’s Mike Komisarek. He’s also big (6’4, 243) and playes physically. The Flyers really need a big, hitting defenseman. Komisarek’s salary last season was $1,900,000. Although he doesn’t score much, he may be a better value than Bouwmeester.  Or, how about this: The latest rumor has the Flyers trading forward Danny Briere to Montreal for Komisarek (assuming they could sign him).  Unloading Briere’s huge salary, which in my opinion is costing them more than what they get in return, opens the door for Boumeester signing here as well.  Finally, thinking about value, look at New Jersey’s Johnny Oduya. Decent size (6’0, 200), 29 points, and a +21 all for $600,000 per season last year. 

Forward: The Flyers are pretty strong at Forward, but do need a good face-off man.  I’d love to see Glen Metropolit, who they lost on waivers during the season, back here for next year (part of the Briere deal?).  Beyond that, the Red Wings have both Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg to re-sign. Both produced well for reasonable salary and I’d love to see one of them here, but can’t imaging that Detroit won’t re-sign both of them.  Nik Antropov of the Rangers is another free agent whom they Flyers have expressed interest in before.  I like his size (6’6, 230) and he had decent production last year on a poor Toronto team for most of the season (59 points).

It should be another interesting free agency season. Hopefully, the Flyers will be able to use free agent signings and trades to upgrade themselves. They must look to compete with a strong Penguins team that will be good for years.  In an upcoming post, I’ll put out a roster for next year that I’d like to see.