February 8 Camden Courier-Post:
“If Ryan Miller or Martin Brodeur were dangled in front of Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren between now and the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline, he might be inclined to jump through some salary cap hoops to strike a deal.
Not so for goaltender Ray Emery, who on Monday signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Anaheim Ducks that will pay him $500,000 to play in the NHL and $105,000 to play in the AHL. NHL teams have until noon Tuesday to claim the 28-year-old goalie, who had reconstructive hip surgery last April.
The Flyers won’t be one of them.
“I like him,” Holmgren said Monday. “I like everything about him. But we don’t have a place for him to play. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons he signed with Anaheim. He’ll have a better opportunity to play and get back to the NHL.”
The Flyers resurrected Emery’s career by signing him to a one-year contract in the summer of 2009. In 29 games with the Flyers he went 16-11-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and three shutouts. But when he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis, a deterioration of the ball joint in his right hip, Emery was told his NHL career was over.
Unwilling to hang up his skates Emery underwent a radical surgery in which bone was grafted from his lower leg and used to reconstruct the ball joint. Nine months and countless hours of rehabilitation and strength training later, Emery is inching closer to a return to the NHL as a backup to the Ducks’ Jonas Hiller.
“I’m absolutely surprised,” Holmgren said. “With the surgery he had and the time and effort he had to put in to rehabilitate and get to the point where he can even think about playing it’s incredible. In my eyes,it’s a miracle.”
Flyers right wing Jeff Carter, a former junior teammate of Emery’s, said there are few goalies with the competitive fire of Emery and he believes the former Flyer can still make an impact at the NHL level.
“He said the rehab was pretty tough, some long days,” Carter said. “But he’s still young and he wants to keep playing. He could have shut it down, took the insurance money and called it a career, but that’s not him.”
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