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.
Boston: They've got both Fernandez and Thomas signed through next season, with Auld joining the UFA pool.
Buffalo: Miller's the guy, but Thibault's finished in Sabre ville so there's room for a backup here.
Calgary: The Flames have three pending-UFA netminders, one of which will likely backup Kiprusoff next season.
Carolina: There's a spot open behind Ward with the Hurricanes.
Chicago: I think Corey Crawford gets a look as the backup here.
Colorado: 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.
Columbus: Leclaire's an RFA and will need a new deal, and Norrena's under contract.
Dallas: They'll lose Holmqvist as backup, but this is Turco's team. Spot duty's available behind him.
Detroit: Osgood has a new deal, but Hasek's likely to retire. Jim Howard, an RFA, likely gets a shot (finally) in the bigs.
Edmonton: Two goalies signed, neither likely going anywhere.
Florida: 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.
Minnesota: Backstrom and Harding, together again.
Montreal: Halak's an RFA, but the smart money's on both he and Price returning.
Nashville: 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.
Ottawa: Gerber and perhaps rookie Brian Elliot here. Not an option for Emery.
Philadelphia: Biron and Niittymaki are both signed.
Phoenix: Bryzgalov and Tellqvist for next year.
Pittsburgh: 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.
Toronto: 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.
Vancouver: Cory Schneider could get his chance behind Luongo.
Washington: 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.