Philly's eternal crease question

Can Ray Emery carry the Flyers back into contention? Len Redkoles/NHLI/Getty Images

One would not be wrong to think that goaltending, or a lack thereof, has been an ongoing problem for the Philadelphia Flyers since the days of Bernie Parent. We have seen the likes of John Vanbiesbrouck, Garth Snow, Brian Boucher and Roman Cechmanek pass through the Flyers' crease without a Stanley Cup result. So, you certainly cannot blame Flyers fans for being concerned this past offseason about the Philadelphia goaltending situation.

With Martin Biron walking away as a free agent, the Flyers ended up deciding to go with a low-cost, high-risk alternative in the enigmatic Ray Emery. Emery signed for the relatively cheap price of $1.5 million for one season on Broad Street. The signing was a divisive issue among Flyers fans. Some applauded it for its high upside; while others pointed to the greater potential for risk than reward. With Philadelphia currently standing as the third-worst team in the Eastern Conference standings and Emery sidelined due to an abdominal injury, rewards have been few and far between this season.

Before recently undergoing surgery, Emery posted 11 wins, 8 losses, 1 overtime loss, a .901 save percentage and a 2.83 G.A.A. Emery's save percentage places him a measly 39th out of 46 eligible goaltenders in that respect. It would be easy to frown on such a performance and write off 2009-10 as another season in which the Flyers had the wrong man in the crease. However, closer examination shows Emery may in fact be the right man for the job. And when he returns, the Flyers still have a shot at the playoffs.