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Player Evaluation: Ray Emery
This year Emery walks into the same situation. He knows he's playing for a coach in Joel Quenneville that will give him every opportunity to succeed if Corey Crawford slips up, and he'll either need to seize the moment or things will play out similarly to the way it did last season. For Ray Emery, he has put himself in a position to succeed here more-so than elsewhere if he believes he can compete with Crawford. For the Blackhawks, they get a guy that is hungry to get in the game and push Corey Crawford to play better.
I will say outright that I'm not a big fan of Emery and his style of goaltending. He's not a very mobile goaltender, poor quickness, and hardly what you would define as acrobatic as today's game demands... but he plays his angles well, makes himself look big in the net, and sticks to a system. When he isn't focused, he will run into trouble because he doesn't have enough athleticism to rely on reaction time/scrambling to cover for his mental errors and positional mistakes -- of course a lot of his athletic ability went out the window with his hip problems as he was once considered a highly touted young goaltender. It's not great to watch but it can be effective when he is mentally strong because he has turned into a pure blocking goaltender. He makes himself big, has great hand-eye coordination, and covers up well, making it difficult for shooters to snipe him.
As a back-up goaltender I have no issues with Emery. He can be solid when called upon but in a full season he isn't a solution at this point in his career. Corey Crawford should end up with the majority of the work-load this season as everyone will expect out of him, leaving Emery with a handful of games to stay focused with -- it's a combination that should help Emery record a better stat line at the end of this season compared to his 2011-2012 campaign.
PREDICTION: 20 GAMES | 11 WINS | .906 SVP | 2.64 GAA | 0 SO
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