Normally, when a team decides to re-sign their back up goalie it doesn't mean a whole lot. However, what the Chicago Blackhawks did on Saturday does mean quite a bit.
Emery signed a one-year deal worth $600,000 shortly before the season started. He has gone 15-9-4 in 34 games this season with a goals-against average of 2.81 and a save percentage of .900. He also sported a very impressive record of 10-0-3 at home.
With the deal, the Blackhawks have both Emery and starting goaltender Corey Crawford both locked up for next season.
So why is this important?
Firstly, it means the Blackhawks weren't that impressed with what they have in Rockford with the AHL Icehogs.
While Carter Hutton was a pleasant surprise this season for the Icehogs, rookie Alexander Salak was very much a disappointment. Alec Richards was also a disappointment for the team and is currently with their ECHL affiliate in Toledo.
Salak, who lost out to Emery for the right to backup Crawford, never seemed to get comfortable in Rockford. He struggled with off-the-ice issues as well as injuries. On the season, he went 5-10 in 20 games with a GAA of 2.81 and a save percentage of .902.
Like I said, Hutton was a nice surprise going 22-11 with a GAA of 2.29 and a save percentage of .920. However it must not be enough for the organization to trust him to be Crawford's back up next season.
So with no young goalie ready to come up from Rockford, it makes perfect sense to lock up Emery with a relatively cheap deal.
What this signing also means is that general manager Stan Bowman and the organization have no interest in pursuing any free agent goalies that could represent a possible upgrade over Crawford.
This also marks the second re-signing of the numerous free agents the team will have this season. The first was Dan Carcillo, who signed a two-year extension.
So Hawks fans, are you glad that Stan Bowman locked up Emery for another year? Sound off below.
Playoff Update: With their win over Detroit on Saturday, the Blackhawks clinched the sixth seed. What that means is they will face the winner of the Pacific Division in the first round.
The Phoenix Coyotes control their fate; if they win in any way, they can clinch the division. If they lose, then the winner of the San Jose Sharks and L.A. Kings game could have a chance at the division, depending on how Phoenix loses.
Personally, I'm hoping its Phoenix or San Jose for the Blackhawks.
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