This season has been a year of addition by subtraction for this Flyers team. Hextall managed to get rid of Lecavalier and Schenn to make room for Gostisbehere, he traded Zac Rinaldo to the Bruins for a 3rd round pick, and at the very beginning, he let Ray Emery go and signed Michal Neuvirth to be Mason’s backup.
In his last season as the backup goalie in Philly, Emery posted a 3.06 goals against average and a .894 save percentage. Emery hasn’t played in North America since he was released from his professional tryout with the Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate, the Marlies. In his AHL stint, Emery played 6 games and ended with a .888 SV% and 3.00 GAA. Hopefully, Dave Hakstol won’t be forced to start him.
Experience overrated? Hard to argue Emery- who hasn’t had SV% above .900 in any league (NHL, AHL, DEL) since 13-14- is better than Stolarz.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 29, 2016
It’s that time of the year when teams lose goalies at the worst possible times. The Flyers are riding Steve Mason for as long as they can, sheltering rookie call-up Anthony Stolarz. The Flyers have lost Michal Neuvirth for the rest of the regular season and with three more sets of back to back games, it will probably be a necessity to give Stolarz his opportunity. The Phantoms goalie Jason LaBarbera also suffered a serious injury and wouldn’t be available to the Flyers should Stolarz or even Mason got hurt in the last stretch of the season. Emery is here as an insurance policy in case we lose another goalie.
When it was announced that the Flyers had signed Emery on a tryout basis, it didn’t exactly broadcast trust in Stolarz. Hextall was quick to assure reporters that Ray Emery was brought in as a depth move and that he trusted Stolarz to start if he eventually has to.
“But in terms of Mason-Stolie [playing], this doesn’t change anything. It just adds a layer of depth for us. This is not a reflection of Stolie.” – Hextall
Even with his confidence in Stolarz, Hextall isn’t rushing to get him into the net. Hextall said that coach Hakstol is playing the goaltending situation the right way. Putting Stolarz in is a game-time decision and that decision depends on the level of competition and how the team in front of him is feeling.
“Obviously the stakes are high right now and ‘Mase’ is playing extremely well. We’re not going to play Stolie to see how a young goalie reacts. We’re going to play him if he gives us the best chance to win. This isn’t a time for tryouts or looking at young players, it’s a time to dig in and do everything we can to make the playoffs. Whether he plays again, probably will be dictated by circumstances.” – Hextall
The way this season is ending, seeing Ray Emery in a Flyers uniform again may not surprise us too much … if it does happen.