Posted tagged ‘Ray Emery’

Flyers Win 2 on the Road

October 5, 2009
Flyers Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Matt Carle (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Flyers Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Matt Carle (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

The Flyers started off their season with 2 big wins on the road.  The Flyers shut-out Carolina on Friday night and clearly beat-up the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.  The team got great play from most players, including excellent goaltending from Ray Emery.  The only disappointing part of both wins was the exorbitant amount of penalties the Flyers took.  They had to kill 8 penalties on Friday, including a 2 minute 5 on 3 power-play for the Carolina Hurricanes.

Of course, one could question how good are the Hurricanes and Devils?  Last season, the Devils finished the season with 107 points and the Hurricanes made it to the Eastern Conference finals.  Both of these teams have their nucleus back, so there shouldn’t have been any drop off in play.  For the Flyers to come out and win both of those games on the road should help the Flyers with their confidence and hockey instinct.  

The Flyers open their home portion of the season, tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals and then follow-up with the Penguins on Thursday.  These two games will be a real test to this surging Flyers team.  However, if the Flyers continue to get passionate play from their fourth line, especially Blair Betts and Ian Lapierrerre and excellent goaltending from Ray Emery, these two games this week could catapult the Flyers season or send the Flyers back to the drawing board on how to beat the two top teams in the Eastern Conference.


Flyers Season Starts Tonight

October 2, 2009
New Flyers Goalie - Ray Emery -  Yong Kim / Staff Photographer (Daily News/Inquirer)

New Flyers Goalie - Ray Emery - Yong Kim / Staff Photographer (Daily News/Inquirer)

There is nothing better than the start of hockey season.  The Flyers face off tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes to start their season.  As discussed many times, the Flyers made a flurry of trades and moves designed to bolster their team.  In fact, some major hockey publications are selecting the Flyers as the eventual Stanley Cup champions.  I wouldn’t go that far, yet.  We haven’t seen them play, nor have we seen these Flyers develop an always win mentality.  I hope it pans out, but I think there are many variables.

The goalie situation in Philadelphia has not been stable since Ron Hextall manned the pipes.  This year, the Flyers start the year with Ray Emery and Brian Boucher as their primary goaltenders.  Both of their contracts are salary cap friendly and they both have a lot to prove.  Emery has had a tumultuous past with his former teammates and with the police.  He needs to have a great and behaved year to get his career and life back on track.  Flyers GM Paul Holmgren took a large chance handing the starting job over to Ray Emery.  If it works out – Holmgren is a genius.  If it doesn’t, we can all kiss this season goodbye.  One thing Emery has going for him is the defense.

I don’t think that you can find very many teams in the NHL with a better top four defensemen than the Flyers have.  With the addition of Chris Pronger to Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Ryan Parent, the Flyers defense should provide protection in front of the net, skills on the power play and provide some offensive puck movement.  The offense is going to greatly benefit from this backline unit.

With the core of the Flyers, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell coming off career seasons, the sky is the limit.  A healthy Danny Briere added to youngsters James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Darrell Powe.  Simon Gagne, should he remain healthy, will get his standard allotment of points.  Interestingly, the Flyers added proven penalty killers and checkers, Blair Betts and Ian LaPierrere.  These two guys should take a significant burden off of Mike Richards as the lead penalty killer.  Richards then should be able focus on his excellent two way 5 on 5 play and leading the top power-play unit.  Even better, the Flyers are only going to have to dress one of Riley Cote, Aaron Asham or Dan Carcillo.  This will allow the Flyers to have more skilled players on the ice.  

Finally, the Flyers learned their salary lessons from a year-ago.  By putting Randy Jones on waivers and sending him to the Phantoms, they freed up his cap space allowing them to keep the young players on the roster and leave room for an emergency call-up or if they want to make a trade.  Also, it would prevent them from having to pull the Scottie Upshall trade of 2009-2010.

PhilaTude’s take on the Flyers season – they will win games, but I am still concerned about the intensity around this team and their ability to stay out of the penalty box.  If they can reduce the penalties and show a desire to play tough for wins, watch out, because this team has talent.

Flyers Acquire Chris Pronger

June 29, 2009
Hopefully, Chris Pronger will hoist the Cup in a Flyers sweater.  (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Hopefully, Chris Pronger will hoist the Cup in a Flyers sweater. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Flyers acquiring Chris Pronger and a minor-leaguer for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and some draft picks is tremendous.  It gives the Flyers an excellent core of defensemen and provides some salary cap flexibility at the end of this season. 

Ok, I know many people are bitter about giving up Sbisa and the late first round draft picks, but you have to give up something to get something.  Regardless, if the Flyers didn’t get Pronger, Sbisa wouldn’t have been on the roster this year.  Besides, the Flyers still have to resign Parent and Coburn to long-term deals around the same time Sbisa’s contract would expire.  Personally, I’d rather have Coburn and Parent over Sbisa.  Parent and Coburn are made for the NHL, Sbisa will be a fine defensemen, but no better than Randy Jones.

Joffrey Lupul was a disappointment last season and I am still not sure why Holmgren gave Lupul that ridiculous contract extension.  He’s the Ducks’ problem now (or again). 

The Flyers defense will have Timonen play with Parent, Coburn and Pronger and Jones and Carle.  It is great that Carle and Jones will be the 5th and 6th defensemen, because that’s where they belong.  If they can re-sign Andrew Alberts for the league minimum, he will be an excellent 7th defenseman.

Chris Pronger brings a much needed edge to the Flyers defense.  He can kill penalties and keep opposing players from crashing the net.  Ray Emery should be ecstatic to have Pronger in front of his net.  A few downsides to the deal are that Pronger will be a free agent after this season, he is 34 and his presence will just make the referees salivate at calling more penalties on the Flyers.  I think Holmgren will be able to re-sign Pronger, because he will love playing here and I expect Holmgren to make more moves to have the necessary cap space.  At age 34, many defensemen have been effective.  Niklas Lidstrom from the Red Wings is still playing tremendous hockey in his 30’s.  Chris Chelios and Paul Coffey also had great seasons while in their 30’s.  I’m not worrying about Pronger’s age.  And, the issue of the Flyers getting tougher – they know how to play against their opponents and the referees.

I am jacked up for this season.  The Flyers still need to get a face-off winning veteran center, re-sign Knuble and sign a back-up goalie.  No matter what else happens this off-season, the Flyers got one of the best and toughest defensemen in the league.  And by the way – Jay Bouwmeester – overrated.

Other draft news:  The Flyers added two goaltenders and a few skaters.  I don’t really think any of them will have an impact on the Flyers organization in the short-term.  If one of these players develops, they would be considered “draft steals.”

Ray Emery Officially a Flyer

June 11, 2009
Ray Emery, notice no belt

Ray Emery, notice no belt

I wrote about the Flyers potentially signing Ray Emery to a contract a few weeks back.  You can read that post here.  Now that Emery has signed, I don’t think my opinion has changed.  Emery provides the Flyers with a stop-gap at goal for at least one season.  He signed for a paltry 1.5 million for one year.  By not resigning Biron at close to 4 million for three years, the Flyers saved an immense amount of salary cap space to sign a top level blue-liner.  Biron’s stats and Emery’s stats are similar, except Emery is much more of a nut job, and has tons of off-the-ice incidents to his name. Emery is about 6 years younger than Biron, as well. 

By the Flyers signing Emery for only 1 year, it provides the Flyers with an easy out if Emery can’t hack it.  The Flyers would still be without a number 1 goalie, but at least they wouldn’t have given up anything on a chance to try with Emery.  From Emery’s perspective, the 1 year deal gives him the chance to prove himself on and off the ice for the potential of a more lucrative and long term deal.  Emery has proven to be a solid goaltender.  The question is – Can he bounce back from his problems in Ottawa and recapture his standing as a top goalie in the NHL?  Playing in Philadelphia is not easy.  If Emery starts out poorly, it could be a long season in the Flyers net.  Let’s hope that Emery does well.  I still think that if Biron wasn’t asking for so much money, he would have been the better option.

Of course, signing Emery on the cheap to save cap money was an objective.  If the Flyers don’t use the additional cap money to get a top level free agent defenseman, then settling for Ray Emery could be a big mistake before the season even starts.

Ray Emery to the Flyers?

May 6, 2009
Ray Emery as a member of the Ottawa Senators

Ray Emery as a member of the Ottawa Senators

Splashed all over the local and national hockey media are confirmed reports of the Flyers having discussions with Ray Emery’s agent. Click here for the facts. The Philadelphia media makes it seem like the signing of Emery was imminent. However, Emery’s agent reported that they are having discussions with the Flyers and two other teams. In fact, there was article written about how Marty Biron’ agent feels about the Flyers talking with Emery.  Who cares?  Biron is a free agent, just like Emery.  For the record, I like Marty Biron and barring any potential trade for a goaltender, I think Biron is our best shot.

Does Ray Emery provide the Flyers with an upgrade over Marty Biron? Statistically speaking, Biron’s are slightly better. Emery led the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup finals and lost; Biron led the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals and lost. Aside from their play on the ice, which I think is identical, Emery has been involved in many off-ice incidents, which is a headache the Flyers don’t need. Also, Emery had a solid season in Russia, which may or may not translate well to the NHL. I think Robert Esche has played well in Russia, but I haven’t seen him back in the NHL. My only thoughts for the Flyers looking into Emery are that he might be a cheaper option than Biron and he is six years younger. Other than that, I don’t see a point.

For the Flyers to really have the long-term Cup winning goalie, I think they need to develop him in the organization. Draft a goalie and let him work his way to the NHL.

Of course, the wheeling and dealing Flyers could always try and swing a trade for JS Giguere from Anaheim.