The Flyers' goalie issues have been well documented over the past decade or so. We have seen many goaltenders come in and out of the Flyers' dressing room since Ron Hextall. We have seen guys like John Van Biesbrook, to guys like Roman Chechmanek (just the name scares me). We all knew that we had to solve this goaltending issue sooner or later, and still we are again faced with the same problem this off-season. As of now, we have arguably the worst goaltending tandom in the N.H.L. But last year, I (and many others) had thought that this problem had finally been resolved.
When Ray Emery signed, I (like most) was scepticle of the move. We had all heard of his history. Arrogant, self-absorbed, etc. His behavior had led to a banishment to Russia for one year. But we had all forgotten about the tremendous skill that Emery posseses. He was incredibly athletic, and strong with is legs too. He had also led Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Final against a very strong Anaheim Ducks team in 2007.
So Emery was now the next goaltender in the Flyers' net. Most fans probably thought he would wind up the same as every other goalie that played for the Flyers in the past decade. Play for us for 1-3 years, have hot streaks but never play well enough at the best of times. Fans would wait to see how this experiment played out.
But what many forget was that Emery was playing for his career. This was his last shot to make a return to the N.H.L., so he knew he had to play his ass off, and that he did. Emery started the season with a shutout, and a 12-5-1 record with a save % of around .923. He was also being considered for the Canadian Olympic team. Then his play started to go down, which we sooner found out was due to injury. Yet even when he returned he picked up right where he left off, posting two more shut-outs. But once again injuries (and this time a season ending and possibly career ending one) stopped him in his tracks.
Personally, I think that if Emery was in the net for the Chicago series, we would have won the Stanley Cup and he would have also been our goalie for the next five years to ten years to come. He is a young guy with tons of potential and talent, and it is a shame what happened to him, because he is a great goaltender and is the perfect fit for the Flyers.
Now, I know this is a long shot, but if I was Holmgren, I would talk to Ray Emery and his doctors to see how his healing is coming along. If Emery gets the green light saying he can play in time for next season, I would try him for another year. If not, I wish Ray the best recovery possible and hope he can find a starting job somewhere else.