Steve Eminger performed admirably last season, especially when he stepped up in to a more prominent role due to injury. However, re-signing him this season was a signing for the sake of it, regardless of his minimal cost (disagreeing with The Suit here). Unlike many Rangers fan’s, I struggle to agree with the desperation to have the clichéd ‘veteran depth defenseman’. If the blue line is good enough its old enough and Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are that experienced already that they could impart their experiences on the others.
The only benefit I can see from the Eminger re-hiring is that it likely means a player with limited upside is in the press box instead of a genuine prospect. That said, I’d much rather not have an extra body in the way of Valentenko or Kundratek’s progress through the ranks. If these kids are genuinely NHL calibre and, as so often mooted, close to NHL ready why shove another player in their way? Let the carrot be close enough to bite at. Let these players be close enough to the NHL they can almost touch it. Eminger hinders this.
Another issue; the Rangers should be better next year and could upset some teams if when they make the playoffs (not on the last day of school this time guys…) but as I have stated multiple times they are still at least one season’s worth of development from truly making some noise. If that is the case then bring the kids up and let ‘em learn however if the Rangers are beginning (internally) to think ‘win now’ then Eminger isn’t the right calibre of veteran anyway.
At $800k per year Eminger can’t be a big mistake. He makes a small amount of the cap and is on a minimal term deal but I can’t help feeling that this was a pointless move. Give me the kids instead. I’m betting Kundratek can give me at least the same 6 points Eminger had and V-Tank can give me the physicality Eminger provides. Unfortunately for Rangers fans it seems they’ll likely be showing off their talents in the AHL next season.