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Ray Emery creates three-goalie system for Flyers

Ray Emery creates three-goalie system for Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers are no stranger to Ray Emery and his services; he’s been a part of the team’s system on multiple occasions in the past, playing in various spots on their depth chart in each of his stints with the club.

This season, he’s seen his play drop off enough that the 33 year old veteran didn’t stick with either the Ontario Reign or the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. He recorded .878 and .897 save percentages in all situations with each minor league affiliate, respectively, on ATO’s before heading elsewhere. By the end of the year, he was playing for the Mannheim Eagles of the DEL in Germany.

Now, though, he’s back in North America – and back with the Flyers, who announced on Tuesday afternoon that Emery had inked an ATO with the club and would arrive in Philadelphia on Wednesday. He’ll help the club work towards the post-season with some security in net via a three-goaltender system.

Ray EmeryThe Metropolitan Division club will head into their final weeks of the 2015-16 season with a trio of Steve Mason, Anthony Stolarz, and now Emery standing in goal, continuing to use Stolarz as the team’s backup behind Mason – but confirming that neither Stolarz nor Emery would head down to the AHL at any point.

With Michal Neuvirth injured for the final stretch of the regular season (and Jason Labarbera shut down for the season in the AHL as a potential call-up option), the Flyers are down one of their more reliable netminders – leaving Mason to shoulder the workload with an inexperienced NHL rookie and the hope that he, himself, won’t get injured. Adding Emery to the depth chart, even if he serves as a sort of ‘practice goaltender’ similar to what the NWHL uses, helps give the team some relief, security, and added distribution of stress of the two netminders who are more likely to play.

Emery can spend more time with the team in practice, allowing Mason more rest to hopefully prevent injuries with a heavier workload – and if something does happen to leave the Flyers down either Mason or Stolarz, they won’t have to worry about looking for a backup with NHL experience as they sit so precariously on a post-season berth.

It’s not a system that would likely be practical for every NHL team all season long, and it’s not one that would work for any goaltenders but ones like Emery – who is nearing the end of his pro playing career and isn’t going to be heavily fighting for starts.

In certain situations, though, adding a third netminder can be extremely beneficial for a club – and it’s excellent that the Flyers identified themselves as a team that could use this kind of system while they fight for a playoff berth.

About The Author

Cat Silverman

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Writer for Today's Slapshot, InGoal Magazine, and Coyotes.NHL.com, coach in the Arizona Coyotes Department of Hockey Development. Goalies are not voodoo.