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Emery Signing A Coup for Holmgren

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Paul Holmgren is a man living on a second chance. Sugar Ray Emery will soon be doing the same thing. In a controversial move, the Philadelphia Flyers signed the enigmatic goaltender to a purported one-year deal with a small base salary. Emery’s signing closes another sad chapter in recent Flyers goaltending lore and leaves Marty Biron searching for a new home. It also leaves another huge question mark between the pipes as the Flyers embark on an off-season primed to retool their respective roster.
 
Yeah, Ray Emery is said to be half nuts. He likes to drive his car fast, likes fancy clothes, and has a penchant to fight both his teammates and the other team. But, one thing cannot be denied; the guy has talent. He won 56 games in a two-year span, has a career GAA under 3.00, and a career save percentage over 90%. Emery also was the #1 goalie on a team that competed for the Cup on what seemed like a yearly basis.
 
With the Flyers so close to the cap and other key additions to be made, the Emery signing appears to be a coup for General Manager Paul Holmgren, who is coming off a questionable year himself with a slew of personnel decisions that left a lot to be desired: Locking-up Joffrey Lupul to an inflated extension, trading Scottie Upshall and a 2nd round pick in a salary dump, mismanaging the cap to the point of having to send Giroux to the minors when he was one of the team’s top forwards, acquiring Matt Carle’s hefty contract, and giving-up a 1st round pick for Steve Emminger.
 
Emery also will have a chip on his shoulder, looking to dispel his critics. He could be just that fire and passion that could rub off in the Flyer's locker room. Nittymaki also needs his walking papers, pronto. The only thing that he has proven in his career with the Flyers is that he cannot carry the load no matter how many times trying to be handed the job. Holmgren needs to go get a young goalie to compete with Emery who can also be the future. Both Josh Harding from Minnesota and Cory Schneider from Vancouver fit the bill. Minnesota just shelled out huge money for Backstrom and Schneider is blocked by Luongo.
 
The Flyers need for another top flight defenseman is apparent. Timonen needs help and it is obvious that the game plan from opposing teams is to run Timonen any chance that they get to wear him down. See the Pittsburgh series as exhibit A. This is where Jay Bouwmeester or Mike Komisarek come into the picture. Bouwmeester and Komisarek become UFAs this summer and Holmgren pretty much invented paying compensation for the negotiating rights to impending UFAs before they hit the free market. Lupul, Carle, and Jones could all become trade bait. A top 3 of Bouwmeester, Timonen, and the emerging Coburn would be absolutely lethal.
 
Both Briere and Gagne could both be asked to waive the certain clauses in their contracts that preclude roster movements or trades, the likely destination and trading partner could be Montreal. Both Carey Price, who needs a change of scenery, and the aforementioned Mike Komisarek could interest the Flyers. Mike Knuble wants to come back, but he might have to be another cap casualty to a team that already has enough firepower upfront.
 
The Flyers also need a defensive center who can excel in the face-off circle to lesson to load of both Richards and Carter. An adversary that would be invaluable to this hockey club would be John Madden, another impending UFA with the Devils.
 
The Flyers have a lot of questions, but they also have the top shelf talent that could bring in a lot of the answers. The team is loaded with young talent that would allow them to go out and bring in whomever they coveted through trade, negotiating windows, or via free agency. It seems like the only thing standing in their way is the financial implications of the salary cap. Holmgren seems hell bent though on retooling the roster and with a little creativity, the Flyers could go a long way.

  Todd Flynn is a life long Flyers fan and a contributer to Brian Startare's Flyer'd UP!  Todd can be contacted at: tparkerflynn@hotmail.com