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Flyers opt for Emery over Biron

To be announced today, the deal for the 26-year-old goalie, who played in Russia this past winter, will be for one year.

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.