According to CSNPhilly.com, the Philadelphia Flyers have signed Ray Emery to be their starting goaltender in 2009-2010.
Everyone seemed to think the Emery rumors were a bargaining tactic, designed to get Marty Biron to drop his asking price. Well, that doesn't appear to be the case, as the once-troubled Ottawa Senators goalie/martial arts expert looks like he'll be assuming Biron's spot between the pipes.
The knock against Emery has never been that he's unskilled - it's been that he's unbalanced. Tim Panaccio, in the same CSNPhilly story, reminds us that set a junior club record for fighting (as a goalie!!), and he got in loads of trouble in Ottawa for various misdemeanors. In fact, he was out of the NHL last year, seemingly shunned by all 30 teams.
But this is more than just a talent-based decision. Being that we spent the entire last season pressed as close as possible against the salary cap, I'm not too surprised that a cost-cutting move was made somewhere on the roster. At the same time, though, I'd be extremely surprised if this didn't lead to a gigantic push for Jay Bouwmeester or a Jay Bouwmeester-esque superstar defenseman.
The Flyers are constantly mentioned as pursuers of Bouwmeester, and rumors have already started swirling of a move similar to the one that bagged them Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell pre-free agency in 2007. A major upgrade on the young-but-talented defensive line would certainly make the Ray Emery reclamation project much easier to swallow.
As more information comes out, I think we'll get a better handle on A) Holmgren's intentions and B) Emery's demeanor, both of which will impact how Flyers fans accept this signing. Still, you can't help but feel that this is the start of something big, a major push by the Flyers to get over a hump named the Pittsburgh Penguins. If that's true, if this is Step 1, it'll be hard to find an unsatisfied Flyers fan amongst the mix.
P.S. As a Flyers fan, the psychopathic smile on Ray Emery's face in this video is also encouraging (...maybe?):