Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Reasons Signing Ray Emery Made Sense
Although Emery had a subpar preseason and there are concerns about his long-term health, Stan Bowman made the right decision for the Hawks.
Emery gives the Blackhawks a decent backup option for a number of reasons, and while a lot of backup NHL goalies are making more than $1 million in salary, Emery is a very affordable option.
There certainly are reasons to keep him around, and here are a few.
Alexander Salak Needs Time in Rockford
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The Hawks have the young Alexander Salak under contract for the next two seasons. Salak could be a decent net-minder in the NHL, but he is not ready.
The 24-year-old has played two career-NHL games—both during the 2009-2010 season with the Florida Panthers. A full season in Rockford will benefit Salak, as he will be working with some of the Hawks' younger prospects. He will be able to log significant minutes as Rockford's starting goalie, which will be key.
Unless he played out of his mind in training camp, which he did not, Salak and the Hawks are better served with him getting as much game time as possible as an Ice Hog.
Crow Will Need a Breather
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There will never be another NHL goalie like Glenn Hall, who started 502 consecutive games with the Blackhawks. Nobody will ever come close to that durability.
Corey Crawford will carry the load, but the Blackhawks' backup will have to start at least 10 games in 2011-2012. You may as well have someone who has been there to provide support.
Ten games is up to 20 points in the standings, and, as the Hawks found out last year, every point in the regular season is critical.
Last season, Ray Emery won seven games of the 10 he appeared in, and was huge down the stretch for the Anaheim Ducks.
If Emery can win 70 percent of his games with the Hawks, that would be terrific.
Experience Critical If Crow Goes Down
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Nobody wants to think about it, but it could happen: If Crow goes down and misses time, what then?
That's why you need Emery. You need a seasoned option, and a veteran player that knows the song and dance of the NHL.
Sure, rookie goalies have stolen the show in the NHL when called upon. It is the nature of the sport and it will continue to happen. If Crawford went down, Salak would no doubt be called up to be part of the tandem, but you need Emery around so you have the two options in goal, and you need one of your two dressed goalies to have a significant amount of NHL experience.
We hope it never comes to this, but you can never be too sure in the sport of hockey.
Locker Room Presence from Someone Who's Been There
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In 173 NHL games, Ray Emery has won 94, lost 53 and has had no decision in 26 contests. He also took the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006-2007.
Despite a rather odd exit from the Senators and some overall behavioral issues, Emery has been there and has played some serious hockey.
Emery is no stranger to the wear and tear of the NHL, and was a series away from be a cup-winning goaltender.
Last year proved he can still bring a decent game, and Hawks could use another experienced veteran in the locker room.
Emery's a Thrifty Option
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As mentioned in the first slide, a number of NHL teams have significant money tied up in their goaltending tandems. The Hawks, fortunately, do not.
With Crawford and Emery in the pipes, the Hawks have less than a $3.5 million cap hit in the crease. That is fantastic, and opens up more opportunities to wheel and deal at the trade deadline or before.
Salak would have only been $12,000 more expensive, and certainly does not have the NHL resume that Emery has.
When the summer began, many—and I was one of them—wanted Bowman to go out and find a legitimate second goaltender. He did that, and got one at a very affordable price.