Numerous reports this afternoon are saying that the Flyers are close to an agreement with goaltender Ray Emery that would make the free agent the Flyers number one guy heading into next season. Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com and Ed Moran of the Daily News both reported the news this afternoon. Here's an excerpt from Moran's article.
The Flyers won't confirm it, but league sources said today that former Ottawa goalie Ray Emery is coming to Philadelphia and most likely will sign a contract as soon as the free-agent period opens on July 1.
According to one source, the Flyers have done extensive "due diligence," and have determined that Emery, who had a reputation as a troubled and troublesome player with the Senators, is not a risk and is the goalie the Flyers want. The Senators bought out the final year of Emery's contract after the 2008 season.
Talks with current starter Marty Biron continue, but it is believed he is asking for too much money and a long-term deal that the Flyers are not willing to extend to him.
Emery played 36 games with Atlant Moscow of the KHL in Russia last season, notching a 2.12 GAA and a .926 save percentage. He hasn't played in the NHL since 2007/08 when he was released by the Ottawa Senators after playing 31 games and compiling a 3.13 GAA and a .890 save percentage.
The Flyers and Emery would have to wait until midnight on July 1 to put ink on paper and make a deal official. There's no word on how much Emery would make, but it would apparently be a one year deal. While news reports are making it seem like a done deal, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren qualified the news with a statement today.
“We have internal discussions about many players and their potential availability, including Ray Emery," Holmgren said. "I have spoken to his agent a few times about Ray as well. Any further speculation about this would be very premature.”
The skill is certainly there for Emery, who was believed to be one of the league's rising stars in goal just a few seasons ago. He carried the Senators to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, the best of his two full seasons in the NHL. But he is well known for his temperament, which was reportedly the chief reason for his departure from Ottawa the following year. Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray, however, says that Emery "deserves a second chance" and that he has "cleaned up his act in Russia."
He has drawn favorable comparisons to Ron Hextall, although that's more so for his temper than his goaltending ability. Still though, Emery could be a gamble that pays off if he just gets an opportunity to restart his once promising NHL career. Let's just hope this isn't the Flyers only option, though. If it doesn't work out, we could be in for a long season.