The Senators can officially get rid of Ray Emery.
The buyout period started yesterday and runs until June 30. It's expected the Senators will soon serve notice to the troubled goalie that his days with the club are finished.
Before GM Bryan Murray sends Emery packing with a $2.25-million (all terms US) buyout, Murray will exhaust all trade options. Sources say there are a couple of teams interested in Emery, including the Blues.
A source said a deal could be worked out if Murray is willing to add a prospect or a pick in this weekend's draft at Scotiabank Place.
"This won't be a hockey deal if the Senators are able to trade him, but that's a slim chance and a longshot," a league executive said.
There was some belief that with the hiring of coach Craig Hartsburg -- Emery's OHL bench boss in Sault Ste. Marie -- the goalie would get a reprieve. Murray quashed that notion during Hartsburg's introduction Friday, telling the Sun that Emery is finished as a Senator.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates the Senators must serve notice to Emery that they don't intend to keep him for the balance of his contract -- three years at a total of $6.75 million.
Players under 26 are entitled to a buyout at one-third of their remaining deal. Players 26 and over get two-thirds. Emery turns 26 in September.
The buyout can be spread over four seasons, meaning a cap hit for the Senators of about $550,000 per season.
That's an ironic amount -- exactly what Emery's close friend, Brian McGrattan, made last season.
With the Senators on the verge of using $550,000 of cap room next season to dump Emery, there's a strong belief McGrattan -- a pending restricted free agent -- won't be given a qualifying offer by July 1, turning him into an unrestricted free agent.
Once Emery has received a buyout notice, the Senators would then have to place him on waivers.
Teams would have 24 hours to decide if they want Emery at a waiver price of $125, plus the remainder of his contact. It's unlikely there'll be any takers at that price.
But there could be takers if Murray sweetens the pot, which he'll try to do once GMs start arriving in Ottawa Wednesday for the draft
A league source expects Emery -- bought out or not -- won't be out of work long. He might, however, have to accept a contract with a minor-league clause.
There are plenty of teams looking for goaltending help, including the Predators, Kings, Capitals and Lightning.
However, a couple of goalies -- Nashville's Dan Ellis and Washington's Cristobal Huet -- are expected to be available on the market come July 1.
Another source said the Blackhawks might be willing to take a chance on Emery if he accepts a two-way deal.
"He's going to get a shot: He's young and he's been to the Stanley Cup finals. When he's in shape and working hard, he's a top goalie. I hate to say this, but teams will line up to get this guy," said a league executive.
"He just never showed that commitment last year in Ottawa. Whatever team gets him is going to have to get him refocused and working hard again."