Amid speculation that regular starter Jonas Hiller suffered a head injury when he took a shot off his mask during the all-star game, the Anaheim Ducks have found their insurance policy, and his name is Ray Emery.
The Ducks signed Emery Monday morning to a two-way contract for one year worth $500,000 in the NHL, and $105,000 in the AHL. Of course as Evgeni Nabokov learned the hard way, being signed and saved from hockey purgatory doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be suiting up for the team that asked you to sign off on the dotted line. Emery has to clear waivers before the Ducks can send him to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse. He hit the waiver wire at noon ET on Monday, and will clear waivers if he isn’t claimed in the next 24 hours.
For now, he’s a Duck, and he’ll look to get into game shape after appearing in only 29 games last year with the Flyers before bowing out with a groin injury, and also later a hip injury that required major surgery. Emery posted respectable numbers during his brief time in the Philly crease, finishing his shortened season with a 2.64 GAA, a .905 save percentage, and three shutouts.
Hillier was sizzling prior to the All-Star break, and had won nine of his last 13 starts, a streak that included two shutouts. However, after allowing three goals in just 10 minutes last Wednesday against the Sharks he was pulled, and then scratched from a scheduled start for the Ducks’ game the following Friday on the road against Colorado. The team has officially listed his ailment as “fatigue” a vague, murky diagnosis that doesn’t give much opportunity for optimism.
There wasn’t much optimism to be found in Hiller’s personal diagnosis either. The 27-year-old spoke to the Orange County Register Saturday and said he feels “weird,” and that a feeling of light-headedness persists.
“”(I’m) a little worn down, a little lightheaded. It’s weird. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem right. I was hoping it would get better from one day to the next but it didn’t happen, so unfortunately I hope it’s going to be good soon. All I can do is get my rest and we’ll see what happens.”
Doctors assured Hiller that he’s suffering from a simple case of general fatigue, and that being pegged in the melon during the All-Star game isn’t a factor.
Maybe the heavy workload placed on Hiller’s Swiss shoulders is finally taking its toll. Hiller is behind only Montreal’s Carey Price with 47 appearances between the pipes this season, and has faced the most shots in the league (1,472).