Well, it is official: Ray Emery has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. Everyone has been debating about whether he will be good or bad, how he will handle Philly, how he will handle Philly fans, etc.
But now, let's take a look at what this will mean for the Flyers offseason.
1. No More Biron, but Possibly Still Antero
Martin Biron—who is quite possibly one of the nicest players in the NHL—will be looking for a new team.
Assuming the salary cap will stay around $56.7 million and taking into account the Emery deal, the Flyers have approximately $6.163 million to spend this offseason. Biron is looking for a deal that is around $5 million.
The limit of cap space will not allow the Flyers to make this deal because if Emery wins the starting job, Biron gets hurt, or some form of that, Emery becomes the starter and Biron the backup. The Flyers will not waste $5 million on a backup in such a tight cap situation.
Re-signing Antero suddenly becomes an option as he made just $1.225 million last year. Antero did not want to re-sign with Philadelphia previously if he had no chance at being a starter. However, seeing as each are low-cost goalies, they are possibilities.
However, there are other goalies that are free agents that I would like to see the Flyers make a run at: Martin Gerber, Ty Conklin, Scott Clemmensen, and my favorite goalie, Brian Boucher!
2. They Have Plenty of Cap Space To Re-Sign Knuble
Instead of going out and getting a blockbuster goalie as many fans wanted, they signed Ray Emery. What this signing means is that they can give Knuble the money he wanted. He made just $2.9 million this year, so the Flyers will be able to give him a slight raise.
There is other interest in Knuble, as well, so the Flyers have to be careful how much they sign him because then it will destroy the remaining cap space they have.
3. If Need Be, the Flyers Will Not Have To Make a Major Trade To Sign a Good Defenseman
The Flyers—if they wanted to trade for someone, say Jay Bouwmeester—will not have to trade a major player for cap space reasons, or sign Jay Bo on July 1. The most ideal player to make that cap space for Jay Bo is Joffrey Lupul. He is set to make $4.25 million over the next four years.
Some sort of trade involving him and Riley Cote would be best if they want a big d-man like Jay Bo, Ohlund, Derek Morris, or Hal Gill.
Iif they want to go cheap and big, there's Mike Komisarek as well. There's also Marc-Andre Bergeron, who has one of the hardest slap shots in the league.
In short, there's a lot of capable defensemen free agents out there. Without committing big money to the goalies, the Flyers will be able to get their hands on one without having to sacrifice Gagne, Carter, Briere, etc.
In conclusion, while I loved Martin Biron when he was in Philadelphia and Buffalo, Ray Emery makes financial sense, despite the fact that I think he is not the best goaltender. But by signing him instead of Biron, the Flyers get a ton of financial flexibility to make this team even better and give the goalies a lot of help.
This year will be the last when the Flyers will not have to worry about many contracts expiring, so this is the year to go out there, get a quality defenseman, and make a run at the cup.