NHL Trade Rumors: 5 Teams That Would Love to Sign Ray Emery

Kyle NicolasContributor IJuly 7, 2011

NHL Trade Rumors: 5 Teams That Would Love to Sign Ray Emery

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    With so many goalies playing musical chairs this offseason, there's certainly a number of spots still available to a solid goaltender. However, Ray Emery, the saving grace of the Anaheim Ducks last season, remains unsigned and is still an unrestricted free agent.

    With so many teams looking for some depth in their goaltending position, Emery would be a solid pickup after his return to the NHL last season saw him come back just as strong as ever.

    Emery signed mid-season with Anaheim in a insurance/depth move as All-Star goaltender Jonas Hiller was still out with Vertigo symptoms. He rewarded Anaheim's faith with a stellar 7-2-0 record as well as as a sparkling 2.28 GAA.

    In the Ducks' 6-game series loss to Nashville, Emery was essentially the reason that Anaheim even made it to six games, rather than being eliminated earlier they were so badly outplayed.

    So with such a high-quality goaltender still available, here's a look at five teams that would love to lock down his goaltending talents for the upcoming year or possibly even longer.


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Anaheim Ducks

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    Probably the most obvious team that would love to have Ray Emery back is the team that signed him in the first place.

    The Anaheim Ducks are still uncertain about Jonas Hiller's future, and while the news from his native Switzerland is looking positive, it's still unclear whether Hiller will ever be as good as he was in the first-half of last season.

    Therefore, the Ducks really need some goaltending depth.

    They do have it, however it consists right now of Emery, Dan Ellis (who was great when he initially came over from Tampa Bay but then became inconsistent after several games), and minor-leaguer Igor Bobkov, who pretty much everyone in the Ducks organization agrees isn't ready for the NHL yet.

    So therefore, it's key for the Ducks to have a good solid backup goaltender who could be a 60-game starter in the event Hiller's injury truly jeopardizes his career.

    If there's one move GM Bob Murray needs to make this summer (besides bringing Teemu Selanne back to the lineup), it's getting Emery back under contract in Anaheim.

Minnesota Wild

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    He would have to settle as a backup to Nicklas Backstrom, meaning he'd see maybe 20 games next season, but the Minnesota Wild would love to have a consistent solid backup like Ray Emery in the fold.

    The Wild did just re-sign Josh Harding as their backup, but this is a team that made some major overhaul moves this offseason to make a push at returning to the Western Conference playoffs.

    They just might make it there, and if they want to have a goalie that isn't completely gassed when they get there, they're going to have to find someone who can give Nicklas Backstrom the night off occasionally.

    Emery would be the perfect man for that job.

    Plus it also helps to have someone who can step in and hold the fort extremely well in the event Backstrom ever goes down with an injury.

    With Emery in the fold, Backstrom could afford to take a few additional nights off and be much fresher at the end of next season when they really need his talent.

    Additionally, this would push Josh Harding to the third position, giving the Wild what is probably one of the deepest goaltending selections in the league in the event either Emery or Backstrom is out of the lineup.

New York Islanders

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    Let's face it. Rick DiPietro is nearly always injured, forcing Al Montoya into a starting position that he's really not quite cut out for.

    With Evgeni Nabokov still refusing to show up to their locker room to play, the Isles really need a goalie.

    Emery would be the perfect fit. He could easily backup DiPietro when he's healthy, and when he's not Emery could easily step in and relegate Al Montoya to a backup position where he's better suited.

    For an Islanders team that's still in the middle of a rebuild, picking up a guy like Ray Emery would be a stellar move to boost things along by securing a solid goaltender who will remain in the lineup and read y when they need him to be, rather than banking on a goalie whose health is usually a big question mark.

    This would support some of the young defensemn the club has and possibly even help bump them up the standings a little ways.

Winnipeg Jets

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    I bet you're wondering why I would have the newly-resurrected Winnipeg Jets on here when they have a pretty solid goaltending situation already locked down in Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec.

    Well here's the answer: these two have the potential to be a solid tandem, but for several years in Atlanta, they failed to do so.

    Pavelec for the most part was able to steal the starting job, and while he showed flashes of brilliance, he was streaky.

    Mason was also highly streaky last season with a 13-13-3 record and a rather disdainful 3.39 GAA to accompany a .892 save-percentage.

    The Jets really need to do away with one of these goaltenders (most likely Mason) and bring in a guy like Emery to give them some solid play in that position.

    With Emery in the lineup, the Jets will have someone solid to play in the event Ondrej Pavelec has an off night or a bad run of form, and the team will not suffer as drastically as a result.

    This would be particularly key for the team as they've done very little to improve on a playoff-missing performance from last season when it comes to the players on their roster.

    Things are looking kind of bleak for their first season back in Canada. Adding Emery would start to improve that somewhat.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The Blue Jackets need to find a backup goaltender quickly with the departure of Matthieu Garon to Tampa Bay.

    The worry here is that this loss forces the Jackets to move goaltender Mark Dekanitch into action.

    Dekanitch has played one game in his NHL career so far, and is now being forced into the full-time backup position, meaining Steve Mason will likely be playing 75 games next season.

    I would hardly call that a reliable backup situation, and considering Steve Mason had a relatively mediocre year last year (3.03GAA, .901 sv%), I would say this is a good reason for the Blue Jackets to be concerned.

    After a summer which saw them bring in the talents of Jeff Carter, James Wisnewski, and Radek Martinek among others, it would be a complete and total waste if they were unable to pull themselves out of the Western Conference cellar due to a lack of any depth at all in their goaltending.

    Hence, Emery needs to be a huge target for the Columbus management.

    If the Jackets can get ahold of Emery for next season, or really any other proven and solid backup goaltender, they could be in contention to return to the playoffs next year.

    If not, I really don't see the changes they made this offseason making any difference to their finish last season.


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