Photo: AP

Wednesday afternoon the word came out on the Twitterscape that the Chicago Blackhawks had reportedly invited veteran goaltender Ray Emery to a tryout with the team at training camp in the fall. There is no contract in place, this will be a tryout only, meaning if the Blackhawks decide to pass it doesn’t cost them anything.

Ray Emery will be approaching his 29th birthday as camp gets underway. He is 6’2″, 196 lbs, and catches left. Drafted 99th overall in 2001 by the Ottawa Senators, he has also spent time with Philadelphia and Anaheim. But his career is a story of stops and starts.

Injuries and off-ice incidents have marred Emery’s career, and his flamboyant style and over-the-top spending have garnered attention from team management. I’ll refer you to the Wikipedia link for you to get the whole story, which is lengthy.

What is notable, however are his stats during his last stint in the NHL. In 10 appearances with Anaheim in 2011, he went 7-2-0 with a 2.28 GAA and a save percentage of .926. So when the guy is on, he’s ON. His comeback earned him a nomination for the Masterson Trophy, for which he was named as one of three finalists.

Why do this? Because of Alexander Salak. Salak is a goaltending prospect who has played all but a few games in Europe in his career. He gets glowing reviews from scouts and coaches alike, but doubts remain. As of this minute, Salak is second on the depth chart in net. But he has played less than a half-season in North America, and there is no way to ensure that he can hack a full season backing up Corey Crawford in the NHL. Enter Ray Emery.

Emery is very driven to get back into the NHL and perform. This is could be an ideal scenario for the Blackhawks. Emery has playoff experience, and could be a solid backup for Crawford if needed. Since our goaltending corps in Rockford is so green, he could be a solid mentor for them if demoted. And if both Emery and Salak show they can handle the load, Emery then becomes an asset we can trade to help acquire the needed pieces for another run at the Stanley Cup.

I’m very pleased that this is what the Blackhawks have decided to do, and as long as he appears to be in top physical shape, I will be even more pleased if Emery is signed to a two-way contract. I’m even a big enough person to refrain from saying ‘I told you so’ to those who said I was out of my mind about needing a veteran goaltender in the lineup.

Okay, so maybe not…