2013 Flyers Preview: Goalies
The Philadelphia Flyers goaltending situation will look a tad different this season.
After amnestying the contract Ilya Bryzgalov, Paul Holmgren signed veteran Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery to pair up with last season's backup netminder Steve Mason.
A change of scenery seemed to be necessary for Bryzgalov, who remains unsigned by a team at any level.
At the moment, it appears that there will be a timeshare in net with both Mason and Emery seeing a very large amount of time. Mason will likely see 60 percent of the action as he did do an admirable job for the Flyers late last season.
In 20 games in Philadelphia, the former Blue Jacket posted a 7-8-1 record with a 2.59 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage. Mason only allowed nine goals in the last five games and had at least 38 saves in three of those tilts.
Mason is a guy who has yet to put a full successful campaign together since his rookie year during the 2008-2009 season. During that season, Mason accumulated a 33-20 mark with a 2.29 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. Mason also turned in 10 shutouts during his freshman season.
To put those shutouts into perspective, he has only posted nine shutouts over the past five seasons with the Blue Jackets and the Flyers.
On the other hand, with Bryzgalov no longer in the fold, the Flyers decided to sign Emery to compete with Mason for the starting job. Along with Mason, Emery is also playing on a one-year tryout-type contract and is auditioning for the starting netminder gig next season.
Emery is a guy that is very familiar with the Flyers organization after spending the 2009-2010 season with the team.
Unfortunately for Emery, the well-traveled goaltender only appeared in 29 games and posted a 16-11 record with a 2.64 goals-against-average and a .905 save percentage. He also recorded three shutouts before suffering a devastating hip injury that at the time was believed to be career-threatening.
Since then, Emery has spent time with the Anaheim Ducks and the Blackhawks.
Emery had a tremendously successful campaign during the 2012-2013 season and played a pivotal role in the Blackhawks run to a Stanley Cup.
The Hamilton, Ontario native put together a 17-1 record with a 1.94 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage in 21 games. Obviously, Corey Crawford was the guy for Chicago but Emery served as an excellent backup option.
Emery definitely has seemed to matured after he was banished to the KHL after it didn't work out with the Ottawa Senators following the 2007-2008 season. As Flyers fans well know, Emery ended up in Philadelphia just two season after the fact.
The former Blackhawk definitely should challenge Mason for significant playing time for the simple fact that he has a considerable amount of talent and veteran experience.
Early on in the season, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette will likely use both Mason and Emery a good amount. As was mentioned earlier, Mason could see a majority of the starts in net early on. It will all depend on how the schedule shakes out for Philadelphia.
Results will be taken into account. For example, if one goalie allows a four or five spot in goal one night, it wouldn't come as a huge surprise to see the other netminder between the pipes the following game.
The era of the Ilya Bryzgalovs, Michael Leightons, and Brian Bouchers is over and it's time for this historic franchise to turn the page. It all begins in the 2013-2014 regular season.