What a difference a few days can make. It was being widely reported on Wednesday that the Blackhawks were close to bring back backup goaltender Ray Emery. Now 48 hours later it is official that Emery will be leaving the Hawks and returning to the city of Brotherly Love.
So Flyers fans can dust off those No. 29 jerseys because Emery is coming back on a one-year deal at a very cap friendly price of $1.65 million. That is a $500,000 raise from what he made with the Hawks last season.
Personally I am surprised the deal isn't longer and for more money. I figured he would sign a two or three year deal, north of $2 million per season. I guess Emery is banking on beating out Steve Mason for the No. 1 spot and then getting a bigger pay day next summer.
Based on his 2013 stats, it is hard to argue with that logic. Emery set a NHL record starting the season with 12 straight wins and ended the season going 17-1. He also had a save percentage of .922 with a GAA of 1.94.
He and Corey Crawford combined to win the Jennings Trophy this past season. If not for an injury late in the season it could have been Emery dropping F-bombs at the Blackhawks parade instead of Corey Crawford.
Stan Bowman will now have to decide if he will explore free agency for a backup goaltender or if Antti Raanta is ready for the job. If Raanta is part of the Hawks he will carry a $1.4 million cap hit if he is part of the big club. Because of that Bowman may explore other options to see if he can find a cheaper option and keep some cap space.
Remember Bowman brought in Emery on a tryout two seasons ago to challenge Alexander Salak for the right to backup up Crawford. Now two years later Salak is back in Europe and I'm sure they don't want a repeat of that with Raanta so expect the Hawks to tread lightly.
Should be interesting to watch over the next few months and into training camp how this plays out.