The Anaheim Ducks have nabbed the goalie they beat in the Finals in 2007, Ray Emery. He has been signed to a one-year, two-way contract, and will be on waivers until 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. Should he clear, he’ll be assigned to the Ducks’ farm affiliate in Syracuse, NY. The standard two-way contract specifies a (much) lower salary when a player appears in AHL games.
Emery was with the Flyers last year until a season-ending hip problems. He had surgery to correct that in April. Emery was 16-11-1 while posting a 2.64 GAA and a .905 save percentage. He had three shutouts during the 2009-10 season, including blankings in both the opening game of the season and the last game he played in.
Rumor had it last week that the Ducks were talking to Emery as a way of shoring up their first- and second-string netminding spots. The star is Jonas Hiller, and the man in the backup role, Curtis McElhinney. Hiller has been outstanding all year, singlehandedly putting the Ducks back in contention after a slow start, while McElhinney has been solid and played an outstanding game en route to a shutout against the Avalanche this weekend.
This on the heels of a weak Hiller effort against San Jose last Wednesday. The club said after the Saturday game, in which Hiller was not in the backup role, that he was feeling sick and fatigued. He had appeared in the all-star game the weekend before.
Part of what club observers say is the reason for getting Emery is to shore up the goaltending throughout the organization. The Syracuse team is a frequent contributor of players to the big club’s lineup, and their netminding has been suspect. The team demoted Tiemo Pielmeier to the ECHL Elmira Jackals Sunday in anticipation of the Emery signing. He was 10-14-1 with a 3.33 GAA with the Crunch this year.
Emery has appeared in almost as many AHL games in his career (157) as NHL (163). The Senators signed him originally after drafting him in the fourth round, 99th overall, in 2001. He was promoted to Ottawa in 2005-06 after playing a few games in a couple of previous seasons. His big year was the one in which the Ducks beat him for the Stanley Cup in five games. In that 2006-07 season, he played 58 games and compiled a 33-16-6 record.
The next year, he played in just 31, and the season after that he was in the KHL with Mytishchi Atlant, where he played 36 games, winning 22. His temperament has been a question mark at times in his career, with boxing and tattoos being pastimes that have gotten raised eyebrows from conservative hockey people.
It’s unlikely he’ll do much fooling around in Anaheim with Randy Carlyle as his coach and the serious and devoted cast that makes up this team. Nor is this kind of last-chance effort something he’s likely to blow.