Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who Would Want Ray Emery?

Ray Emery has done it again... for the last time? The Senators netminder was late to a team practice the day after the All-Star game (after spending the All-Star break in Vegas), and the Senators apparently feel that they have had more than enough of Emery's distractions. Senators GM Bryan Murray announced today that Emery will be "fined substantially", and most people around the NHL feel that Emery's time in Ottawa is now all but at an end.

This raises the question, what team(s) would actually be interested in acquiring the embattled netminder? At this point I will mention that I don't think Emery is a very good keeper to begin with, so take that into consideration as you read on. So, how many teams out there would Emery actually be considered an upgrade between the pipes for? For my money, the only teams that really fall into that category are Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and Washington. Nobody else would be bringing in Emery as a clear cut #1 goalie, but with an annual salary cap hit over $3 million he's getting paid like one.

Let's take a look at the three teams mentioned above and see if it would make sense for them to bring in Emery:

First we'll look at the Lightning. First off, any deal sending Emery to Tampa would almost have to bring Marc Denis to Ottawa in return just to make the cap numbers work. I think Ottawa could probably live with that, but it wouldn't be ideal for them. On the Tampa Bay side of things, they already have Johan Holmqvist and Karri Ramo in net. Holmqvist is wildly inconsistent, but has the ability to be better than Emery on any given night and comes much cheaper (though he will be a UFA at season's end) while the Lightning organization is very high on the 20-year-old Ramo and have pegged him as their franchise goalie of the future. If you take Tampa's current goaltending into account along with their current cap situation, I think we can safely rule them out as a possible destination for Emery.

The Capitals are a more realistic place for Emery to end up. They have plenty of cap space for the next couple seasons and aren't getting any younger in goal. There has been plenty of speculation that this season could be Olaf Kolzig's last and Brent Johnson is not a long-term solution in goal for a young and talented team like the Caps. A Kolzig for Emery swap could make sense for both teams as it would give Ottawa an insurance policy in net heading into the playoffs and Washington would be getting a potential long-term #1 goalie in return. The more I think about it, the more that trade actually makes sense to me, plus seeing the Caps bring in a jerk like Emery would delight me to no end. So it will probably never happen.

Last up, fittingly, are the Kings. On the surface the Kings could definitely use an upgrade between the pipes. Dig a little deeper though and you see that they have 18-year-old prospect Jonathan Bernier waiting in the wings to be their franchise goalie for the next 10+ years. That doesn't mean they couldn't use someone else in case Bernier's development takes longer than expected. If I were Kings GM Dean Lombardi though, I wouldn't even consider bringing in a malcontent like Ray Emery and instead would dial up Kevin Lowe in Edmonton and try to reacquire Matheiu Garon. I would rather have Garon between the pipes anyway, but he also has a much more palatable salary and is more likely to handle giving way to Bernier in a professional manner. I can't see Emery handling that too well. Plus Ray Emery in Los Angeles just seems like a recipe for disaster.

All in all the Senators will be hard pressed to find a taker for Ray Emery (although one can never rule out Kevin Lowe). I can't see many NHL GM's lining up to bring in an overpaid and overrated head case who clearly cares much more about himself than his teammates. If Emery had a slightly better attitude and was making about half as much as he is, then I could see a team willing to take a chance on him. As things stand right now though, Ray Emery is far too big of a risk for any sensible GM to add him to his squad. Don't be surprised if you see Ray Emery on waivers in the coming days. And don't be surprised if he clears waivers. Ottawa may want to be rid of Ray Emery, but that doesn't mean they won't be stuck with him.


Anonymous said...

I was ray emery's closet gay lover.. but not anymore.. so there you have it Ray..sorry, but you asked for it

Anonymous said...

You Wish!!!