This off-season provided plenty of puzzling moves, so the Anaheim Ducks’ perceived indifference toward bringing back goalie Ray Emery didn’t really stand out all that much. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that the Ducks are being surprisingly cavalier about their goaltending situation, though; with little in the way of updates regarding Jonas Hiller’s troubling vertigo issues, you’d think they would have given more thought to bringing back Emery (aka the guy who helped them complete their playoff push).
It could be that the Ducks simply don’t expect Emery’s injury issues to clear up, though. Either way, the Chicago Blackhawks continued their off-season of shrewd, low-risk moves by inviting the eccentric netminder to their training camp on a tryout basis according to ESPN’s Scott Burnside.
While the Blackhawks’ No. 1 starter clearly is Corey Crawford, the team has some questions behind him. There are many (including PHT’s own Joe Yerdon) who speak volumes about the moxie of their odds-on backup Alexander Salak. That being said, Salak is unproven at the NHL level, with just two games of experience with the Florida Panthers in 2009-10 (0-1-0 with six goals allowed on 40 shots).
Some might undermine the importance of a solid backup, but the Blackhawks’ renewed hopes of returning to legitimate contender status in 2011-12 could be dashed with a Crawford injury if Salak isn’t up to snuff. That’s why it’s a wise move for the team to take an inexpensive look at Emery. Perhaps the goalie could impress but acknowledge his limited options by signing a two-way contract?
Don’t get me wrong, Salak is still the clear frontrunner to backup Crawford. He even has a one-way contract, which means the Blackhawks will pay him the same amount of money if he’s in the NHL or AHL. Then again, the Blackhawks aren’t exactly shy about paying a goalie not to play on their team if it increases their chances of winning (see: Huet, Cristobal).
If nothing else, we should root for Emery to stick with the team for at least a little while. Just think of the stories that might come from Emery partying with Patrick Kane … (Hide the roaches.)