Ray Emery, who will turn 29 less than two weeks before the 2011-12 season begins, has been invited to training camp with the Chicago Blackhawks.
What does this mean to the team’s future?
Emery suffered a major hip injury that nearly ended his career, but made a shocking comeback last year. He went 7-2 down the stretch for the Ducks with a .926 save percentage, including wins in six straight decisions at one point.
In the postseason, Emery appeared in six games (five stars), allowing 17 goals on 165 shots (.897 save percentage).
What is most important, however, is the fine print in this situation – or lack of it. The Hawks didn’t sign Emery, they simply invited him to camp. He’ll compete with Alexander Salak for the back-up goalie spot on the roster in training camp, but there are no financial implications if he doesn’t make the team.
The Blackhawks are not obligated to pay Emery a penny this fall.
Best-case scenario this fall is Emery pushes both Crawford and Salak to become better, and the two youngsters earn their roster spots while Emery performs well enough to land on his feet either in Rockford or somewhere else in the NHL.
At worst, Salak isn’t ready for prime time (on the bench behind Crawford) and Emery gets a minor deal to play in Chicago.
The Hawks are in great financial position to begin the season, and have a number of veterans that could be impact names at the trade deadline. This deal is a great no-lose situation for the organization.