Ray Emery’s fight back from the hip problem that ruined Bo Jackson makes for a great story, but it doesn’t necessarily make him an ideal goalie. The Chicago Blackhawks might have acknowledged that thought on Monday as they grabbed Calgary Flames backup Henrik Karlsson for a seventh-round draft pick in 2013.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Emery will be bumped down from his backup role behind Corey Crawford, but it’s hard to deny the possibility considering this trade (and how wobbly Emery looked in a 6-4 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday).
Karlsson isn’t exactly a highly seasoned NHL netminder despite being 29. He hasn’t seen much action behind Calgary workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff, having played in just 26 NHL games (including nine in 2010-11).
If nothing else, Karlsson seems likely to hover behind Emery as the team’s short-term No. 3 option – unless a Blackhawks prospect usurps him.
Karlsson’s departure begs the question: who gets to barely play behind Kipper in Calgary now?
It appears that prospect Leland Irving could be first in line, at least if the team’s current roster listing is any indication.
At 24, the 2006 first-rounder is approaching the point where Flames management might be getting antsy to see more results. He played in seven games last season, putting up a solid .912 save percentage despite some mediocre team results.
If you subscribe to the idea that this shortened season will mean more reps for backups, then Irving will finally get tested. We’ll see if it’s Emery or Karlsson getting most of the relief work for Chicago, too.