Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Emery should be seeing Red Wings not green backs

June 15th is Father's Day. It will also be moving day for some NHL players as that date marks the official start to the league's buy out period. From June 15th to 30th, NHL teams can buy their way out of contractual blunders. A portion of the salary counts against the salary cap but it can be spread out over a few years and it allows a team to move someone out of their dressing room.

Several players will be surprised by their change of address but one player who shouldn't be shocked is Ottawa Senator Ray Emery. The Ottawa goaltender helped his team to the finals, signed a big contract and then assumed he didn't need to rehab his surgically repaired wrist in the shortened off season. After losing his starting job to Martin Gerber, missed flights, missed practices and the occasional fender bender were all front page news here in Ottawa. The front office's seeming inability to reign in Emery may have indirectly led to Coach Paddock's firing.

With the draft in Ottawa this year, expect GM Murray to be working the phones trying to move up from his mid round pick. Look for Ottawa's first rounder and maybe Vermette being moved on draft day to get a top 5 pick and a stud defenceman. Although he is and has been trying for a year, there is no way any team will trade for Emery and the remainder of his 2 year - 6.75 million dollar contract. The waiver wire is not an option (teams would only have to pay half the contract if they claim a player on waivers), because the Senators apparently don't want Ray on the farm team.

So with "Razor's" career up in the air, where will he land? Does a young team want him, hoping he will regain his form? Would he fit in on a young team that may struggle and miss the playoffs a few years in a row? Would he be a better fit on a more veteran team as a back up goaltender on a two way contract? I believe the latter should happen.

With the retirement of an All Star goaltender this week, a not so obvious choice becomes a perfect fit. Could Ray Emery be a Detroit Red Wing at the start of training camps in September? I can't imagine a better fit anywhere in the league right now.

Coming off their 4th cup win in eleven years, Detroit is an organization that demands accountability from everyone. Almost all of the Wings players are under contract for next year but with the departure of Hasek, a spot has opened up at the goalie position. I've heard from a few sources that the Wings are not sold on Jimmy Howard (3rd on the depth chart this year), and they would like to explore other possibilities to back up Chris Osgood in 08-09.

Too much has been made of Emery's escapades in Ottawa and a fresh start is needed. He can still regain his number one form in the right setting and with the right work ethic. If Wings GM Ken Holland can get Emery on a two way contract paying just over a million dollars at the NHL level it would be a chance worth taking. The Detroit veterans would certainly put Ray in his place should he get out of line. Also, keep in mind that Osgood is not getting any younger and is the Rodney Dangerfield of goal tending; no respect. Putting Ray Emery in as back up would give the Wings a season or two to make the transition to Emery as a future number one. Hey, stranger things have happened...

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