Ducks fans will no doubt remember the heroics of Ray Emery as he picked up for the injured/ill Jonas Hiller late last season and carried them to a stellar finish and a playoff position. In fact, Emery won his first six games in an Anaheim sweater, instantly winning over the hearts and the confidence of teammates, staff, and fans alike.
However, much to many people’s surprise, General Manager Bob Murray stated before the start of free agency that the Anaheim Ducks would not be offering the goaltender dubbed “Rayzor” a new contract for the 2011-12 season.
For a guy who essentially saved the bacon of a goaltender who we’re still even unsure if he’ll be able to return to not be offered a contract sounds absolutely crazy right?
However, when something like that happens there’s usually a few things that could be the case.
One is the player doesn’t like his surroundings. However, in an interview, Emery said that he enjoyed playing in Anaheim, which would rule out that idea.
The other big one is financial demands, which I believe could have been the basis for Murray’s decision and also explain why Emery still sits an Unrestricted Free Agent.
Emery did great, but there are 30 guys lined up to become starting goaltenders next season, meaning Emery will most likely have to settle for a backup job somewhere.
As such, teams are not going to be willing to pay a huge sum of money to a goalie who’s at most going to see 25-30 appearances next season.
Thus, Emery remains an unrestricted free agent in what’s now become almost a standoff.
On one hand you have the GMs who aren’t going to be willing to budge on their contract offers due to cap restrictions and then on the other hand you’ve got Emery who doesn’t want to play for less than a certain amount of money.
It’s all going to come down to whichever side is willing to break first.
If Emery decides he really wants a job next season, you’d have to think he’ll eventually drop his contract demands lower and allow more teams to give him an offer.
With Hiller’s future still very unclear and Dan Ellis appearing to be the one who will have the reins to start the season, bringing Emery back under contract seems like an extremely good idea.
In the event that Hiller can’t return or continues to suffer symptoms after returning, the Ducks will still have a proven, starter-quality goaltender to take over and likely see a lot of games if the recurrence is bad.
In the event Hiller comes back strong, the Ducks now have a brilliant piece of trade bait in Dan Ellis for teams who are still looking for a good-quality backup goaltender.
The situation can only help the Ducks, but at the same time it can only help them if they manage to get Ray Emery back on contract.