On Monday, Cory Emmerton cleared waivers and was expected to join the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. As the season approaches its kickoff on Wednesday night, Emmerton will be a part of the Detroit Red Wings lineup after all, thanks to a handful of salary cap and injured reserve moves that cleared up the space for him to stay. Since he can still be sent down without having to clear waivers in the next 30 days (provided he plays 10 games or fewer with the Wings), the pressure is on Emmerton to produce if he has any hope of sticking around in Detroit this season.
When the Red Wings face off against the Buffalo Sabres tonight, Emmerton will be centering a fourth line between Mikael Samuelsson and Drew Miller. His numbers aren’t anything to get too excited about, but are fairly respectable for a fourth-liner on such a deep team. Emmerton was the Red Wings’ rookie of the year in 2011-12 as he scored six goals and had 10 points while playing in 71 games. In the lockout-shortened 2013 season, he approached those career highs again, netting five goals and adding three assists. He has not only the lowest salary on Detroit’s roster, but one of the lowest in the league. That makes it slightly disturbing that no other team was willing to take the risk on him when he was on waivers, but management in the Motor City still sees something of value in him. He has proven valuable in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill, and now has an excellent chance to take the pressure off himself and put it on veterans like Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves and Miller.