Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks announced they have agreed to terms on a one year extension with goaltender Ray Emery. Emery, 29, posted a record of 15-9-4 with a 2.81 goals against average in 34 appearances for the Hawks this season. That record includes a 10-0-3 record at the United Center.
To me, this signing communicates two things. One...the Hawks have very little faith in Alexander Salak. Many believed Salak outperformed Emery in the preseason, but the Hawks (correctly) felt it wise to sign Emery to a one year deal and keep him with the big club. Had Emery faltered, Salak would have been brought up, but Salak struggled in the AHL, posting a 5-10 record in 20 games. When the Hawks did need a Rockford goalie, Carter Hutton was the man recalled...not Salak.
This also shows that the Hawks are not totally sold on Corey Crawford. Crawford is in the first year of a three year deal that carries a $2.7 million cap hit. These playoffs are big for Crawford. He was excellent in the Vancouver series last season, but has been the definition of inconsistency this year. A strong playoff run could buy him some more time. If he's poor, the Hawks may have to consider dealing him or going another route...especially if he's as up and down in the beginning of next season.
For now...the Hawks have their goalies...for better or worse.