- Paul Grant
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To say Ray Emery has had an interesting career is like saying the Kardashians don't mind having their picture taken. Yes, a bit of an understatement. Heading into 2011-12, Emery was pretty much an afterthought, an auditioning backup drawn from the huge stockpile of former No. 1s who had fallen on hard times and was just looking for a way back to the show. Dude paid some dues in the KHL, for crying out loud. He eventually landed with the Blackhawks, who were looking for someone to open the door while Corey Crawford started, occasionally jumping in with a relief appearance and standing by just in case Crawford suddenly caught a case of beachballitis.
Short-season mojo: Turns out, Emery still had game. Not only did he admirably relieve Crawford when called upon over the last two seasons, he actually threatened for the starting gig. He was a vital component of the Blackhawks' record run in 2013, going a nasty 17-1, giving him a 32-10-1 record over two seasons with the squad. And he played the role of dedicated team guy during the playoffs when the Blackhawks made Crawford the undisputed starter, even when Crawford's game cracked and Emery had unquestionably earned the chance to start.
Why it will be tough to repeat: C'mon, a highly touted and capable goalie coming to the Flyers? How could that possibly go wrong? Plus, challenging for the No. 1 gig and actually being given the No. 1 gig to start the season are two different things.
Verdict: Emery is back on solid ground when it comes to the quality of his work, but he's jumping from being a backup in Chicago's smooth organizational waters into a starter in Philly's waterspout. And, not to mention, into a completely pucks-to-the-wall high-offense division. Even though he's on a one-year deal and he's capably backed up by Steve Mason, the guy doesn't stand a chance. Send your cards and letters now, to beat the rush.
To say Ray Emery has had an interesting career is like saying the Kardashians don't mind having their picture taken. Yes, a bit of an understatement.