Yup, I'd take him. Leaf fan growing up too. I'd give him Raycroft's spot, though he'd probably be looking for and get a starting role somewhere.
I think he's worthy of another chance somewhere, but I don't think Toronto would be wise to give him an opportunity. Toskala has worked his arse off his entire career to be the #1 man, and last year he finally was given it, he's a great goalie....it wouldn't make sense to piss him off, especially with his contract up the year after the upcoming season.
Ottawa will buy him out. He will end up in a place where they need a goaltender and where expectations and media scrutiny is reasonably light.
Professional athletes almost always get a second chance and so will Emery. Toronto sure ain't the place though. If Tampa Bay is not sold on Smith, I would suggest that location. LA might have too much media pressure, that might be an option.
If I were the Blues I wouldn't aquire him. Reason being if he is a distraction now with his attitude problems I wouldn't want that kind of player on a rebuilding Blues team. I would look to Theodore, Huet, Ellis or even Conklin if they hit the market to split time with Legace or take over the starting role until one of their goaltending prospects are ready.
Which would be fine at that point... say $1.5M/yr or $2.25M/yr - and no assets traded and maybe even one year.
If he gets bought out, even as a free agent I can't see anyone giving him over a million. I'm thinking more along the lines of between the league minimum and $800,000. He's too much of a gamble. That being said, if no one had taken a chance on Emery by midseason, and Hiller was emerging in Anaheim to the point that team's in need of a number one were asking about him, I'd deal Hiller and sign Emery to a pro-rated one year deal.
As long as Emery accepts that he's fighting for his career and that it might require him starting as #3 somewhere, then I doubt there will be any shortage of opportunities for him. If he's looking for guarantees in the NHL or to maintain his current lifestyle, well, the opportunities would probably be far fewer. I can't imagine it would be at all a good thing for the Leafs to consider him. For those of us outside Leaf Nation, it might be quite the sight to behold, however.
Chicago makes some sense. Khabibulin is nearing the end and they have really no prospect who projects into a #1. If they could get Emery on the cheap he could be a bigtime steal if Tallon can keep him under raps. Put him with a strong management group with a good support team (something similar to what the Cowboys are doing with Pacman Jones) and I think he will be a solid goalie in this league for many years.
I guess, I never saw the talent in Emery that everyone else saw...during the playoffs in '06 I thought that sealed it...he reminds me a lot of Robert Esche, another awful goaltender...Emery was just fortunate to be behind a great offense and the Phillips/Volchenkov pairing that, had they have played all 60 minutes, they would have blocked just as many shots as Emery did, but with fewer rebounds...
I was pretty sure this contract would be his last in the NHL before he signed it, but now I guess someone will try him out for less than a million and just hope...
I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole. In my opinion he was overated to begin with. Had the attitude problem and misbehaviour even in the stanley cup year, essentially was a big part of the Sens falling apart and a coach being fired last year. I can't believe that any team in this league could not come up with a guy close to Emery's ability without the cancerous behaviour.