Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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A quick explanation on Steve Eminger trade
Posted Mar 4, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Mar 4, 2009 at 09:18 PM
I know a lot of you guys are still scratching your head over the trade of Steve Eminger, but there is a rational explantion involved in the reasoning.
Eminger this season is making $1.2 million and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. Because of the minutes Eminger has been forced to play for Tampa Bay this season - upwards of 30 minutes a night many occasions - due to injuries, you can bet that were Eminger to take the team to arbitration his salary would at least double. And if you slot Eminger in to where he truly should be, he’s probably a No. 5 at best. So, do you consider $2.5 million in this salary cap world a good number for a No. 5 defenseman?
The Lightning, obviously, did not think so and were they to keep Eminger around and try to work out a a new contract, they likely would not have come to terms. And had the case gone to arbitration, there’s a good chance that if the team even chose to give Eminger a qualifying offer to retain his rights, that the arbitration award would have been so high, the Lightning would have been forced to walk away and therefore allow Eminger to become an unrestricted free agen and lose him for nothing.
Brian Lawton said he was in talks for the past week with Eminger’s agent discussing a new contract for the defenseman but couldn’t come to any kind of a deal to extend Eminger’s contract.
This way, at least the team gets something out of the situation. I’m not sold on Noah Welch, who can’t find the ice in Florida these days but at least right now Welch will get the chance to play down the stretch here.
So if you are counting at home, and I know many of you are, here is what your defense will look like for the final six weeks of the season: Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby, Cory Murphy, Josef Melichar, Noah Welch and David Koci. Once Matt Lashoff heals from a cut to the back of his leg, he will be here as well, but that’s probably at least a week to 10 days away.