The thought, at first, seems ridiculous.
What would the Flyers do with another goaltender?
TSN’s well-connected Darren Dreger reported yesterday that the Flyers are one of three NHL teams interested in signing Ray Emery to a contract. The other team mentioned was Anaheim, and Dreger left the third team anonymous.
Emery, 28, as has been well chronicled, last played in the NHL with the Flyers last February before having an intense bone graft surgery to cure a nagging disease. He has been rehabbing since and was recently cleared to play.
Emery’s agent, J.P. Barry, reportedly told Dreger that Emery “fully expects” to prove himself in the AHL before getting a shot in the NHL this season.
That’s where the Flyers could come into play.
“I don’t know that we have room to add him,” an organizational source told the Daily News. “But if he was willing to sign a two-way contract, hell, why not? That changes things.”
There are three caveats to this:
1) Emery needs to sign before Feb. 28 in order to be eligible for the playoffs, so time is of the essence.
2) How do waivers come into play? Since Emery did not play anywhere this season, he would not need to clear waivers to play in the NHL or sign a contract.
3) Do the Flyers have enough room to sign Emery? While his contract would put the Flyers at the limit of 50 contracts, requiring them to subtract in order to add at the Feb. 28 trade deadline if they so choose, exactly 16 of them are either unrestricted free agents or restricted free agents come July 1. That number isn’t permanent.
The best move - for any team - would be to sign Emery to a two-way contract, which he reportedly would accept, that way he could be moved between the NHL and AHL without the waiver fiasco that ultimately sent Evgeni Nabokov to Long Island.
Speaking of Detroit, it wouldn’t surprise me if Detroit was the third team in the mix, since Chris Osgood is still on the shelf with an injury and Jimmy Howard could use an insurance policy.
And that’s what Emery would be with the Flyers.
Even with Michael Leighton and Johan Backlund on the roster for the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms - and Nic Riopel backed up all the way to ECHL Greenville - the answer I keep coming up with is, “Why not?”
It really wouldn’t cost the Flyers much - at most a prorated $500,000 for the last 30 games of the season - and the reward could be huge, especially if they get an unexpected goalie injury in the playoffs.
Yes, Leighton and Backlund both have one-way NHL contracts next season. But has anyone actually gotten the sense that the Flyers are eager to have either one in net next season? That’s not the sense I get.
Emery said in a recent interview with CBC’s Elliotte Friedman that if he had his choice, he would sign with the Flyers because he loved playing here and he loved his teammates here.
For me, the most interesting thing - as Emery has worked out with the OHL’s Brampton Battalion over the last few weeks - is that Emery may be better now than he was when he was with the Flyers. And that’s saying something, since he still had the best stats of any of the Flyers’ seven goalies last year.
I caught up with Emery in Toronto in December, and he said he was in the process then of re-teaching himself how to move in the crease. He said he is more explosive and athletic now than when he was trying to play through the pain in his hip.
Holmgren told me in that story, back in December, that he would keep tabs on Emery’s progress. Well, the time is here. What’s the worst that could possibly happen? We’ve seen crazier things.
WELCOME: Defenseman Matt Carle became the second Flyer to join the Twitter-sphere earlier this week. His username is @MattCarle25. Forward James van Riemsdyk (@JVReemer21), with more than 10,000 followers, is the only other confirmed Flyers player on Twitter.
There are numerous fake accounts out there, including one from Mike Richards, that are not legit.
HELLO, MY NAME IS: While most Flyers fans were quick to notice - and e-mail me complaining - about Mike Richards wearing a New York Yankees hat to Villanova’s win over Marquette on Monday night, the real highlight came on TV.
ESPNU broadcaster Charlie Neal tried to point out Dan Carcillo (called him Dan Car-cee-low) and then bungled James van Riemsdyk and Claude Giroux by calling them a combined “James van-Giroux-dyke.”
CrossingBroad.com was quick to capture the gaffe. Head over there to watch it.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
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