Emery and Stalberg out, Rozsival and Handzus back for Blackhawks
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org July 5, 2013 12:06PM
Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks
Updated: July 5, 2013 9:22PM
Ray Emery went 17-1 this past season, even earning a Vezina Trophy vote despite being the Blackhawks’ backup goaltender. And while he enjoyed playing in Chicago, the chance to parlay that performance into a top job was too much to pass up.
Emery signed a one-year contract worth a reported $1.65 million with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, the first day of unrestricted free agency in the NHL. The 30-year-old veteran played for the Flyers in 2009-10.
Also, a source said veteran center Michal Handzus, a trade-deadline acquisition who played a major role as the Hawks’ second-line center during their run to the Stanley Cup, is likely coming back to Chicago on a one-year deal.
Emery spent the past two seasons as Corey Crawford’s backup in Chicago. In 2011-12, he went 15-9-4 with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. But this past season, he burst onto the scene with a superb 45-save (plus all three shootout attempts) performance in his second start of the season, in Calgary on Feb. 2, and never looked back. He set a record by winning his first 12 decisions, and finished 17-1-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .922 save percentage, sharing the Jennings Trophy with Crawford as the duo to give up the least amount of goals during the regular season.
Emery made $1.15 million last season with the Hawks, who had preliminary discussions with Emery’s agent, but couldn’t offer the chance to be a No. 1 goalie. With Emery in Philadelphia and Henrik Karlsson signing in Sweden, the Hawks could be on the market for a backup. They did sign Finnish star Antti Raanta this spring.
“We looked at signing him as a move for the future,” Hawks GM Stan Bowman said of Ranta. “Young guy, he’s 24 years old. Hopefully he can adjust to North America quickly. Sometimes that takes a little bit of time, but we’re not trying to rush him into anything. Hockey is hockey, but the size of the rink is smaller over here, the style of play is different. We’ll allow for that transition. if it happens quickly, that’s great.”