Philadelphia Flyers season preview: What will Ray Emery bring to the team in net?

USA TODAY Sports

On his second stint with the team, the elder half of the Flyers' goalie tandem this year will probably be asked to handle more responsibility in net than he has been in years. Will he be up to it?

Ray Emery

Age: 31
Depth Chart: First-string goaltender
Contract Status: $1.65 million per year through 2014

2013 Stats

GP GS W L OTL
21 19 17 1 0
SV% ES SV% PK SV% GAA SO
.922 .927 .906 1.94 3

The bad from 2013

Last season? Not much. But the 2013 season was but a small sample of 21 games, and in the three seasons as a backup since Emery left the Flyers, he's been decent (posting a .911 save percentage in those years) but certainly not outstanding. You could sum up his entire career (.908 save percentage) roughly the same way. He's 31, and even though you'd like to think his injury problems from his last stint with the Flyers are far behind him, you can't help but be a little bit nervous there.

The good from 2013

He's coming off of a very, very good year where he posted strong numbers in relief of/in tandem with Corey Crawford and then kicked some ass at sitting on the bench while the Blackhawks won the Cup. He's also in a situation where he knows he has a chance to be a starter, and will hopefully work towards that goal as such.

What should we expect this season?

When we looked at Emery's recent results back in June, we couldn't help but notice that most of his seasons were either well above or well below his career average of .908, so trying to pin a realistic range on him for one season is tough. He's shown he can be outstanding for stretches, but he'll likely have more responsibility this season than he did in any full season since 2006-07 with Ottawa (or, alternatively, 2009-10 with the Flyers, pre-injury). There's no good way to guess where he'll end up. He was obviously in front of a much better defense in Chicago than he will be in Philadelphia, so how he handles that adjustment will go a long way towards his achieving success this year.

Best case...

In an attempt to get a multi-year contract next summer, Emery puts together an effort similar to what he did last season in Chicago. The competition with Steve Mason and a real chance at a starter's spot brings out the best in him, he posts a save percentage around .920, and he gives the Flyers a good option in net.

Worst case...

Asked to start more games than he's had to in a single season in years, Emery falls apart this season, whatever the cause may be -- added pressure, added workload, injury, regression, etc. He and Mason don't push each other to success and the team's goaltending isn't any better than it was last season.

Bottom line

Ray Emery is (probably) the best goalie the Flyers have on their roster right now, and while the move to go and get him was relatively low-risk (one year at a friendly amount of money), no one really knows what he'll do in an increased workload type of situation. But knowing that he's got a chance at a real starter's job -- be it here in Philadelphia or for another team next year -- will hopefully motivate him to play at a high level once again. It's not a safe bet, but there's a chance it could work out pretty well.

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