Faced with the prospect of going into the next season relying on a rookie (Tim Erixon) and a formerly slumped sophomore (Michael Del Zotto), Glen Sather bought a cheap insurance policy Monday when he re-signed Steve Eminger. According to Larry Brooks, Eminger is coming back at the bargain basement price of $800,000 for one year - a price cut of $700,000 from last season.
During the Facts of Life I thought that Eminger "had no future with the franchise." I was wrong. It happens, I know. Strange, right? The thought that no one else would offer him a one-way deal didn't cross my mind ... although it probably should have.
While a veteran with a Cup ring like Brent Sopel would probably bring more on and off the ice, Eminger is cheaper and the coaching staff is already familiar with his ups and his downs. His ups were quite nice - he played solid, strong hockey when he filled in for the injured Michal Rozsival and was rarely a liability on the ice. His downs, well, they helped see him benched in the playoffs in favour of Matt Gilroy of all people (who did play his best admittedly).
But the good outweighed the bad in the eyes of Glen Sather so Eminger is back and Del Zotto is essentially on notice. Between youngsters like Pavel Valentenko and Tomas Kundratek trying to crack the lineup and Eminger's ability to step in at any time, MDZ has to step up his game if he is to avoid Hartford.