With every newspaper in Atlantic Canada talking about sending Ray Emery to the gallows, let's see how this could possibly benefit the Senators.
First, only a few teams would be interested in taking Ray Emery at his current contract levels—and given the way he is playing, Sens fans shouldn't expect much in return.
I've browsed the blogs and chat boards and seen names mentioned like Rob Blake and such.
But you have to ask yourself: a league leader like Rob Blake in return for what? An overpaid underachiever with a bad attitude, like Ray Emery?
Sure, teams like Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are in dire need for a goaltender to compete with the rest of the NHL, but do you think they will look seriously at Ray Emery?
Ottawa should consider placing Emery on waivers, and take having to pay half of his salary in stride. That moves would free up $2 million under the cap that could be used for signing another unrestricted free agent—and this year's crop seems very tempting as opposed to last year's.
Let's not forget—if Ottawa dumps Emery, they will need a backup. As far as my reading and research goes, Ottawa seems pretty bleak in the talent pool in the AHL
Now before you start to question keeping Ray Emery around, let's review some similar examples.
Yes, it is true Emery took the Senators to the Finals last year. Since then, he has had surgery to repair a damaged wrist—which, quite frankly, has not recovered fully.
He has struggled this year and seen another goaltender, Martin Gerber—who should be considered for the Most Improved Player award—take the number-one spot in net for the conference-leading Senators.
With no sign of breakdowns, Gerber is more and more cementing his status the starting goaltender for the Ottawa Senators. You can compare Emery to Jose Theodore of the Montreal Canadians. Like Emery, Theodore at one point was a Vezina Trophy Winner and carried his team on his back, without the support of the amazing offence Ottawa has.
But Theodore took some turns for the worse and became a cancer and Montreal was left to trade Theodore to the Colorado Avalanche.
Why should Emery be any different? Simple, he has had two good seasons at best, and doesn't hold the previous achievements Theodore did.
Furthermore, at this point, look at the infractions Emery commits, other then not stopping rubber at close to $3 million a year:
1. Late for practice
2. Starts fights on the ice with his own teammates (I don't care what the Associated Press says—if you fight someone on your team it's not all "in good fun.")
3. Misses flights
What's worse then paying someone millions to have fun and play hockey? Them taking the money and not doing their job to the best of their capabilities.
It will be very, very hard to find a team willing to give up anything decent for the likes of Ray Emery. The Senators should put him on waivers and hope someone claims him, and maybe use the freed salary cap space to sign a decent backup to Gerber, or another strong defenceman.
Ottawa, in short, is the all-package. From defence to offence, form Gerber's goaltending to coaching—they are strong on all fronts.
All that's left is to cut the one bad spot out the organization—and that, my friends, is a cancer called Ray Emery.