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Player Profile: Steve Eminger

Posted By Adam Gavriel On Mar 15 2011 @ 1:48 pm In New York Rangers | No Comments

Eminger is an interesting case for me. Coming into training camp this year with the Rangers without a guaranteed roster spot after being acquired via trade for winger Aaron Voros in the off-season Eminger was able to establish a useful role with the Rangers. At first Eminger was just another borderline #5 journeyman defenseman that the Rangers signed to fill a void. As the season went on he proved himself a useful player before being banished to Torts’ doghouse where he will try to break out of that tonight against the Islanders. Here’s more of what you need to know about Steve Eminger.

Height:6’2″

Weight: 203 lbs

Age: 27

Drafted: 1st round (12th overall) in 2002 by the Washington Capitals

NHL Experience: Currently in his 8th NHL season

Contract: $1.125 mil, UFA at years end

Before the NHL:

Before the NHL, like so many other native Canadians Eminger went on to play in the OHL as a teenager to gain recognition from NHL scouts and hopefully make it to the NHL. Eminger would spend 3.5 seasons with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. He had a great season in 01-02 which what was catapulted him to become a top 15 pick in the NHL entry draft. That season Eminger recorded 58 points in 64 games while managing a +24. It was after this season that the Capitals spent their 12th overall pick that season on Eminger.

The Capitals would begin bouncing Eminger around right away. He started off the 02-03 season with the Caps, was returned to Kitchener, and then he started playing the game we’ve seen with so many Rangers this season of being assigned and recalled to and from the AHL.

Eminger was never really able to capture the offensive prowess he showed in the OHL in the AHL.

Interesting to note is the fact that in the 01-02 season, Eminger’s best with Kitchener, he played alongside Sabres star forward Derek Roy as well as Flyers captain Mike Richards.

International:

Eminger has only represented Canada once, in the 02-03 season when the Capitals assigned him mid-season to the Canadian national Junior team. Eminger would play in 6 games and record 2 assists.

NHL Success:

Eminger’s NHL successes have been rather limited. At the young age of 27, the Rangers are Eminger’s 6th NHL home.

Eminger would play in the better part of 5 very poor seasons with the Capitals before they decided to cut ties with their former first round draft pick and traded him to the Flyers.

After 12 games in Philadelphia, Eminger would be traded again, this time to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Eminger’s 50 games in Tampa might have been his most productive in the scheme of things numbers wise in the NHL. In 50 games with the Lightning Eminger was able to boast 23 points. However this didn’t seem to be enough for the Lightning, who not even four months after acquiring his rights, dealt Eminger to the Panthers, Eminger’s third team in one season.

After 9 games in Florida Eminger was let go as a UFA in the summer and was eventually signed by the Anaheim Ducks to a two year deal.

An injury plagued and quiet 09-10 campaign saw Eminger play in only 63 games for the Ducks before they too felt the need to part ways with Steve.

A very unorthodox NHL career for this young former top 15 draft pick has seen Eminger play in 400 games and record 91 points while establishing a plus minus of -50.

Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:

Had I typed up this section of the player profile mid-season it would seem a little different than it is going to today. In the middle part of the season Eminger and Mike Sauer were quietly establishing themselves as a good middle pairing for the Rangers, however with the Del Zotto struggles came the McDonagh call up; McDonagh was paired with Sauer and Eminger couldn’t get himself into a good rhythm with another teammate until he found himself keeping whoever the extra forward was company every night in the press box.

But again like I said in the intro, Eminger came to the Rangers in training camp to fill a need. He’d either be a bottom pairing guy or a steady 7th dman to be plugged in whenever necessary and that is exactly the role that Eminger is currently fulfilling for the Rangers.  However it can be debated that when given a steady spot in the lineup Eminger is a more viable option than the player currently seeing action over him, Matt Gilroy.

[notice that I decided to write the Eminger profile before the Gilroy profile]

So obviously, I subscribe to the #PlayEminger team.

When he was being given the minutes with the Rangers Eminger proved himself more than capable of handling bottom pair minutes on a consistent basis; more consistent than I believe Gilroy has been to this point.

Gilroy’s upside may be a little better, but they’re both about the same age (Eminger has a year on Gilly).

However all this proves moot as I believe neither will be back with the Rangers organization next season. Eminger’s expiring contract can help pave the way for Del Zotto to get back into the NHL full time or for a player like Valentenko or Kundratek to step up and be that guy.

A so far tough career for Eminger, never really finding a place to settle down will seemingly continue.

I think he can play a part in getting the Rangers to the playoffs if used correctly, however I do believe that Eminger’s time with the Rangers will be up after this season and he will have to move on to find suitor #7

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