Veteran goalie Ray Emery has won the Blackhawks' backup job behind Corey Crawford. The Hawks signed Emery to a one-year deal worth a reported $600,000, while assigning rookie Alexander Salak to the Rockford IceHogs.
"We're in the fortunate position to have to make a difficult decision on two netminders that impressed throughout our entire training camp," general manger Stan Bowman said in a statement. "Having both Ray Emery and Alexander Salak as a part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization makes us stronger in both the short-term and long-term."
According to the numbers, Salak outperformed Emery this preseason, recording a 1.94 goals against average compared to Emery's 4.54. But it was always thought that the Hawks preferred to have an experienced goalie behind Crawford, who is entering his first full year as a starter.
Emery, 29, is a veteran of 173 career regular-season games over parts of seven seasons in the NHL. Salak, 24, has just two games of NHL experience, although he was a standout in the Swedish Elite League last season.
All Emery needed to do through his tryout offer was show that he's recovered from his hip surgery and flash glimpses of being the same goalie who backstopped the Anaheim Ducks to the playoffs last season.
"I think I bring certain things," Emery said after his full exhibition game, a 4-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I bring some experience. I think they kind of know what to expect from me as far as my track record goes, and I expect to get better and better as the year goes on."
The Hawks' roster now stands at 26 players.