by Fitzgerald Cecilio
The Philadelphia Flyers have signed free-agent goaltender Ray Emery to a one-year, $1.65 million deal, giving him another chance to be a starter after serving as backup with Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks last season.
Emery will compete for playing time with Steve Mason, who was the Flyers' only NHL-caliber goaltender in the organization after the team used a compliance buyout on last season's starter Ilya Bryzgalov.
The move brings Emery back to the team where he spent 29 games during the 2009-10 season. His run, however, ended in February when he sustained a hip injury that later was diagnosed as avascular necrosis and nearly ended his career.
"I left myself with a funny taste in my mouth with my experience there," Emery said. "I'm not saying it wasn't enjoyable, but that I really felt we could have done better, that I really could have done better than what was done there."
The 30-year-old Emery was the top free agent goaltender available, going 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals against-average and .922 save percentage while playing backup to Corey Crawford.
"In Philadelphia it would be a new situation for both me and Steve (Mason). Going forward it's a chance to maybe play more games than I would have in Chicago. It's a great team," said Emery.
Emery added that he will be comfortable sharing crease time with Mason at this point of his career.
"I've changed my outlook," Emery said. "When I was younger I wanted to play all the games and kind of got a pouty attitude when I didn't. You start to realize that if the team is successful, then everyone does well and it's a better working relationship that way."
In nine NHL seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Flyers, Anaheim Ducks and Blackhawks, Emery has a career record of 126-63-19. In 263 games, he has a 2.63 GAA, .908 save percentage and 14 shutouts.
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