Friday, April 18, 2008

Goalie: Free to good home

"I told him yesterday, the plan right now would be to investigate possible options for him. I hope there's a team out there that will give him a look and talk to us about him."
Emery may not be free, but on the trade market, he might as well be. If he passes through waivers, he could be, too. And if he's bought out, you can guarantee his next deal comes cheap.

But where can he go?

A look at the goaltending situations across the league:

Anaheim: Giguere's staying put, but Jonas Hiller is an RFA. He had a strong season and is likely to be back.

Atlanta: Lehtonen needs to be re-signed, but that shouldn't be a problem, and top youngster Ondrej Pavelec likely gets the backup role with Hedberg on the way out as a UFA.

: They've got both Fernandez and Thomas signed through next season, with Auld joining the UFA pool.

: Miller's the guy, but Thibault's finished in Sabre ville so there's room for a backup here.

: The Flames have three pending-UFA netminders, one of which will likely backup Kiprusoff next season.

: There's a spot open behind Ward with the Hurricanes.

: I think Corey Crawford gets a look as the backup here.

: Theodore's a UFA, and it remains to be seen if the Avs pony up to keep him. Bet on it if they advance to second round, and with Peter Budaj signed, there wouldn't be a spot here.

: Leclaire's an RFA and will need a new deal, and Norrena's under contract.

: They'll lose Holmqvist as backup, but this is Turco's team. Spot duty's available behind him.

: Osgood has a new deal, but Hasek's likely to retire. Jim Howard, an RFA, likely gets a shot (finally) in the bigs.

: Two goalies signed, neither likely going anywhere.

: The Panthers also have two 'tenders signed.

Los Angeles
: This could make sense, potentially, although the Kings have four netminders either signed or about to be: Cloutier, LaBarbera, Ersberg and Bernier. I don't see them bringing anyone else in.

: Backstrom and Harding, together again.

: Halak's an RFA, but the smart money's on both he and Price returning.

: They may lose Ellis, depending on if he wants to test the UFA waters, but Mason's signed and Pekka Rinne's in the system.

New Jersey
: Brodeur and Weekes are signed.

NY Islanders
: DiPietro needs a backup if Dubie walks.

NY Rangers
: Valiquette's a UFA, so there might be a spot here. I think he may return, however.

: Gerber and perhaps rookie Brian Elliot here. Not an option for Emery.

: Biron and Niittymaki are both signed.

: Bryzgalov and Tellqvist for next year.

: Fleury is an RFA and needs a contract, but Conklin can walk as a UFA and may get some real interest. Sabourin's signed for dirt cheap.

San Jose
: Nabokov still needs a door-opener.

St. Louis
: Toivonen could re-sign and backup Legace, but he struggled mightily this season. The Blues may go after someone else.

Tampa Bay
: Smith was anointed 'the guy' by virtue of the Richards deal, but Emery on a bargain contract would fit in here. It depends where the Lightning feel rookie Karri Ramo fits in. Denis appears finished.

: Toskala's the starter, and Raycroft has an unmovable contract, but if he's demoted, there's a backup role here for either Justin Pogge or a veteran stopper.

: Cory Schneider could get his chance behind Luongo.

: Both Huet and Kolzig can walk as UFAs, but Brent Johnson is under contract. This one's a tough call, but I can't see there being an opening, whatever the situation.

Here are the options from the UFA pool: Huet, Theodore, Ellis, Conklin, Kolzig, Hasek, Joseph, Auld, Lalime, Sanford, Valiquette, Hedberg, Holmqvist, Dubielewicz, Grahame, Thibault

That's an awful lot of bodies and not a lot of holes. Several of these guys have likely played their last NHL game.

What does that leave us for potential locations for Emery? By my count above, there are about seven or eight backup gigs up for grabs, and not really any bona fide No. 1 roles. Buffalo, Carolina, Dallas, NY Islanders, San Jose, St. Louis and Tampa Bay seem logical choices.

It's not out of the question he ends up in the AHL next season, along with a few other fellows.



At 11:18 p.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

Carolina would probably be the best bet (given their success with Ottawa players ;) ). The only time Ward has ever posted a SV% higher than this year's .904% was during the 2006 playoffs.

At 11:34 p.m., April 18, 2008, Anonymous Slothrop said...

Emery will be bought out, why would anyone take the chance on trading for his contract?

He has the tools to become an above-average (maybe very good) goaltender in the league, but blew it in such spectacular fashion this year that you've gotta wonder whether he'll ever be mature enough to make it work. He was best friends with the team's best young player, put in two very solid years work, played with an edge the team had lacked for years, won the confidence of fans and management alike [ he had it made ] and responds to needing to win back the starter's job from one of the hottest goaltenders in the league with... really weird, petulant childishness, just decides to take his ball and go home? I don't get it, doubt many others do either.

Murray strongly suggested off-ice problems with "someone" in today's news conference. If the many rumours about how Ray likes to spend his free time are true, couldn't the team have suspended him while he got himself sorted out? Wouldn't that have been the best solution from both a team, asset-management (they've got $10 million tied up in the guy) and just plain class/humanitarian point of view? The situation was handled very, very badly by the organization, who'd always been well run - to the point of being a model - until this year.

At 11:50 p.m., April 18, 2008, Blogger Jonathan said...

//The situation was handled very, very badly by the organization, who'd always been well run - to the point of being a model - until this year.//
To quote Ray Emery:
"I probably got in more trouble last year but, you know, you’re winning everyone’s on your side still."
It's been a bad situation for a while now. It just didn't come out until the winning stopped.

At 1:52 a.m., April 19, 2008, Anonymous cynical joe said...

The problem for Ray, now, is that wherever he goes (unless its the AHL and maybe even there) he'll be a backup goalie; a role he screwed up this year in Ottawa. Backups are expected to be practice warriors; extra work on powerplay drills, shooting practice for the walking wounded and press box sitters. I just can't see Ray giving that to an NHL team. He's more in the Alan Iverson mold, someone who'd as soon skip practice. Its a shame to see someone piss away millions of dollars and a great talent on immaturity, false sense of entitlement, and a total misunderstanding of what being on a team means. I hope he can get it back together but I think he's in for a long walk in the hockey wilderness.

At 2:32 a.m., April 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one with off-ice problems is not Emery. It's about illegal substance but I digress.

Emery's salary is the problem everywhere else but St.Louis. Assistant GM Jarmo Kekalainen drafted Emery when he was working for Ottawa so there's that needed connection.

If not Blues, it's minors or Europe.

At 3:49 a.m., April 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kolzig, Hasek, Joseph, Auld, Lalime, Sanford, Hedberg, Holmqvist, Dubielewicz, Grahame, Thibault

Careers over.

At 12:22 p.m., April 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ron Francis on Team 990 in Montreal said that according to a good friend/source Emery paid a security company $1000 a week to baby sit him at home and ensure he gets up on time etc...allegedly the two times he was late, the security guy wasn't there.

At 8:16 p.m., April 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI: Islanders have Joey MacDonald on one-way deal for 08-09, so not even a backup place there.

With the plethora of goaltenders and the lack of places for them, it's hard to picture him anywhere but the AHL, unless a Russian team wants to lay out some $$.


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