Ray Emery, whose controversial antics have overshadowed his goaltending, will be introduced as the Flyers' new goalie this morning at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, a club official confirmed last night.
The Flyers will announce they have agreed to a deal with Emery, who can't officially sign until the free-agent period starts July 1. He is expected to get a one-year deal worth approximately $1.5 million.
That will give the Flyers some additional cap space to pursue a free-agent defenseman or two, and they are also exploring adding a big fourth-line center who is adept at face-offs.
Emery's deal figures to be about a $2.5 million-a-year saving on what Marty Biron, the Flyers' goalie the last two seasons, is expected to land in the free-agent market.
Nicknamed "Razor" and "Sugar Ray," the fiery Emery, who excelled in Russia last season, will enliven a Flyers' team that is dominated by laid-back personalities.
Known for his hot temper, exotic cars and partying lifestyle, Emery, 26, was involved in several well-publicized confrontations with teammates when he played in Ottawa. In addition, he has left a trail of driving violations and team suspensions - and an in-game fistfight with his trainer in Russia.
Two years ago, Emery sparked Ottawa to the Stanley Cup Finals. During the regular season that year, he went 33-16-6 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. The next year, he slumped to 12-13-4, 3.13 and .890.
The Senators first waived him and then bought out his contract after the 2007-08 season.
In Russia last season, playing in a league that is probably comparable to the minor-league AHL, Emery was 22-8 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
The agreement with Emery marks the end of Biron's tenure with the Flyers. Biron's career numbers - a 2.59 goals-against average and .911 save percentage - are slightly better than Emery's work in parts of five NHL seasons: a 2.71 GAA and .907 save percentage.
"We think Emery's a better goalie than Marty," said a Flyers executive who asked to remain anonymous.
They think Emery is better; they know he is cheaper.