Goalie Ray Emery is returning to the Flyers.
Emery signed a $1.65 million, one-year deal with the Flyers on Friday, the first day of free agency. Thus the Flyers have one of the lowest-paid goalie tandems in the NHL, a combined $3.15 million for Emery and Steve Mason ($1.5 million).
The two will battle for the starting job in training camp. And, yes, competition should bring out the best in both players.
A few years ago, Emery underwent Bo Jackson-like hip surgery. He has made a remarkable recovery, and last season he had an outstanding year with the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, going 17-1 with a 1.94 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Emery turns 31 on Sept. 28. He played for the Flyers in 2009-10, compiling a 16-11-1 record, a 2.64 GAA and .905 save percentage before undergoing season-ending hip surgery.
Mason, 25, was superb in seven games with the Flyers after being acquired from Columbus. He had a 1.90 GAA and .944 save percentage, rebounding after 3 1/2 dismal season with the Blue Jackets.
Emery said he works out with Mason in the summer.
"He's just around the corner from my place in Toronto. He’s a great young goalie," Emery said.
Emery said he considers the Flyers' goaltending duo to be more of a "tandem relationship" instead of a competition.
"Last year with me and Corey (Crawford in Chicago), it was more about the team success and we both kind of helped each other get better," he said. "As far as I know, that’s the best way to treat a goaltending relationship. I’m excited to work with him, teach him what I know about the game and what I’ve learned about the game, and I'm excited to work with a great young goalie.
"Whenever I evolve, I end up watching the young guys, because they’re kind of the pioneers. You go and watch these young kids, they're amazing in net. I'm just excited to work together with Steve."
Emery said he picked the Flyers because he didn't feel he would have the opportunity to play much behind Crawford, who led Chicago to the Stanley Cup.
"I feel the writing was on the wall in Chicago as far as myself goes," he said. "In Philadelphia, it would be a new situation for both me and Steve. Going forward, it's a chance to maybe play more games than I would have in Chicago. It's a great team and it's a situation that I knew from the last time I was there that I was really comfortable with."
Emery said he also felt comfortable because he was being reunited with Flyers assistant GM John Paddock, who was his coach in Ottawa.