Flyers showing interest in once-troubled goalie

   The Flyers have shown interest in signing a goalie who helped the Ottawa Senators reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but has a history of off-ice problems. 

    Ray Emery, who put together a 12-3 record in the first three playoff rounds two years ago to steer the Senators into the Finals against Anaheim - and excelled in Russia this season - is on the Flyers' radar screen, general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed on Monday.

    In 2006-07, Emery had a 33-16-6 record, a 2.47 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage, and he was 13-7 in the playoffs. The next year, he slumped to 12-13-4, 3.13 and .890.
     Known for his flashy clothes, exotic cars and extravagant lifestyle, Emery conceded he was a heavy partier in a 2008 interview with USA Today. During his time with Ottawa, he was involved in some well-publicized confrontations with teammates, and there were rumors about Emery and drug use.
    Emery, 26, nicknamed “Sugar Ray” and “Razor,” could not be reached for comment early today, but in the USA Today interview last summer, when asked to describe his use of recreational drugs, he said: "I really don't want to go into details. I'm not a saint and I'm not in jail, either. I think I've learned a lot of lessons. I didn't feel comfortable. I got myself into some bad ways. It took some time to clear my head."
    The Senators waived him and then bought out his contract after the 2007-08 season, and he subsequently signed a $2 million deal to play last season in Russia.
    "I don't think anyone would disagree that Emery is a sound, competitive goalie that just two years ago won 13 playoff games in leading his team to the Stanley Cup Finals," said Holmgren, who admits to having a soft spot for players with a troubled past. "Before we look at signing any player, we do our homework on that player, especially with his off-ice lifestyle and work habits."

    In Russia’s Continental League, Emery posted a 22-8 record, 1.86 goals-against average and .926 save percentage this season.
     The Flyers’ two goalies, Marty Biron and Antero Niittymaki, are unrestricted free agents. Holmgren continues to have talks with Biron's agent.

   Emery's career NHL numbers (2.71 GAA, .907 save percentage) are slightly below Biron's (2.59, .911).


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Upgrading the defense should be the Flyers' off-season priority if they want to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

   The team's wish list should include signing free agent Mike Komisarek and dealing for Jay Bouwmeester _ and signing him before he becomes a free agent on July 1.

   The economy is down and Komisarek is coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued season, so perhaps the Flyers can sign him to a backloaded deal that will only absorb, say, a $2.5-$3  million cap hit next season. We shall see.

   I've outlined the moves I would make in Sunday's Inquirer. Click here to read the story.