Then and Now: Steve Eminger

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The Philadelphia Flyers had their dreams of acquiring Shea Weber crushed yesterday, as the Nashville Predators matched Philly’s offer sheet to keep the elite defenseman in Tennessee.

One reason why this is so painful to the Flyers’ faithful is due to the fact that Matt Carle signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier in the month. Carle spent parts of four seasons with the Orange and Black thanks to Philly’s trade with the Lightning back in 2008, where the Flyers acquired the blue liner in exchange for Steve Downie, a fourth-round pick in the 2009 draft (drafting Alex Hutchings), and Steve Eminger.

Philly also received a third-round pick in that draft as part of the deal, with which they selected defenseman Simon Bertilsson.

After the Flyers traded away a first-round pick in 2009 to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Eminger, with which the Caps selected defenseman John Carlson, the defenseman spent all of 12 games with Philly before being shipped to Tampa. He posted two assists and eight PIMs with the Flyers.

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The Flyers’ 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators on November 6, 2008 was Eminger’s last game in the Orange and Black. Ironically, his first game for the Lightning came two days later in a 2-1 win against Philly. He recorded two PIMs and a rating of plus-1.

After he posted four goals and 19 assists in 50 games for the Bolts, Eminger was once again traded, as he joined the Florida Panthers at the 2009 trade deadline. In exchange for Eminger, the Lightning acquired defenseman Noah Welch and a third-round pick in the 2009 draft, with which they selected right winger Andrej Nestrasil.

With his third different club during the 2008-09 regular season, Eminger took part in nine games for the Panthers, as the team went 3-4-2 with the blue liner in the line-up. He deposited one goal for the Panthers, the game-winner in the squad’s 7-4 season finale against the Caps (go to 2:53, #55), as well as six PIMs and a plus-1 rating.

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For the 2009-2010 season, Eminger joined his fifth different NHL team and his first Western Conference team in his career, as he signed a two-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks. With a cap hit of $1,125,000 for each season, Eminger made $750,000 in his first season of the contract and $1,500,000 in his second season.

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The defenseman had four goals and 12 helpers in 63 games for the Ducks, as he enjoyed the comfort of staying with one team for the entire season. In addition to his game-winning goal in Anaheim’s 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on January 13, 2010, Eminger had a pair of impressive performances late in the campaign. Less than two weeks after posting a goal, an assist, and a plus-5 rating against the Colorado Avalanche on March 31, 2010, Eminger concluded the season with a one goal, one assist, and plus-3 display in the Ducks’ 7-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

In the summer of 2010, Anaheim dealt Eminger to the New York Rangers in exchange for right winger Aaron Voros and left winger Ryan Hillier. The trade put Eminger on his sixth team in four seasons.

Eminger participated in 65 games for the Rangers during the 2010-11 campaign, but he didn’t suit up for any of New York’s five games in their brief 2011 postseason appearance.

The blue liner registered two goals and four assists for the Blueshirts, as well as 22 PIMs and a rating of minus-5. In addition to his tally in a Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Lightning on November 24th, 2010, Eminger potted the game-winner against the team that drafted him in New York’s 6-0 rout of the Caps on February 25, 2011.

For the season just completed, Eminger remained with the Rangers for the entirety of the campaign, as the defenseman played for the same team in back-to-back seasons for the first time since he did so with the Caps in 2006-08. He signed a one-year contract with New York worth $800,000.

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Although he took part in 23 fewer games than he did in 2010-11 due to a separated shoulder and an ankle injury, Eminger totaled only one less point with two goals and three assists in 42 contests. He also recorded 28 PIMs and took part in the 2012 NHL playoffs, his first appearance in the NHL postseason since his Capitals were eliminated by the Flyers in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Eminger went pointless in four games for the Rangers as he appeared in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Caps and in Games 3, 4, and 6 of the Rangers’ Eastern Conference Finals’ series against the New Jersey Devils.

At the moment, Eminger is an unrestricted free agent. There isn’t any certainty as to where the 28-year-old will play next season.