Chicago Blackhawks: Top 5 Recent Free Agent Signings

By Brian Kinkade
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4. Ray Emery

The ’Hawks took a low-risk gamble before the 2011-12 season when they signed veteran goaltender Ray Emery to a training-camp tryout deal. Emery struggled in training camp, but made the team anyway. Was it because there was just that little goaltending depth behind Crawford? Or was it because the front office saw something in him?

Probably a bit of both.

Emery was just coming off major hip surgery, and his durability as well as ability was in serious question, which is why the ’Hawks were able to give him such a low-cost contract, with no guarantee he would make the team.

Emery’s struggles would continue into the regular season, as would Crawford’s. In Emery’s case, he was likely shaking off rust and struggled to get a feel for his game after his hip operation. Emery went 15-9 with a dismal .900 save percentage.

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The following year would be a totally different story.

Emery silenced his doubters and rewarded those who continued to believe in him with what could be one of the greatest seasons a backup goaltender has ever had. Emery did something that no goaltender had ever done before by starting the season with a 12-0 record. He finished with a 17-1 record and a .922 save percentage and earned a share of the William Jennings Trophy in the lockout-shortened season.

As you know, the ’Hawks would go on to win the Cup in 2013.

Emery then earned a starting goaltender’s contract from the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2013 offseason. Although he hasn’t lived up to his new contract, Emery lived up to his ’Hawks’ contract and then some.

Next: Who's No. 3?

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