2007-08 Rink Wrap: Steve Eminger

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Steve Eminger.

Contract Status: RFA; 2007-08 salary of $1M
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 24
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 4+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 20 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists, -4, 8 PIMs
Key Stat: Including the playoffs, the Caps were 17-5-3 with Eminger in the lineup in 2007-08 (and yes, I included the playoff OT losses in the OTL column).
Surprising Stat: Eminger was actually on the Caps' roster all season.

The Good: Eminger stepped his game up in the playoffs, where he had the most hits-per-game of any Caps blueliner, scored a big goal and posted a plus-two rating in five games (he was arguably the Caps' best defenseman in Game Seven, too). In obviously limited playing time, Eminger had the best takeaway-to-giveaway ratio of any Caps blueliner and the best plus-minus of any season in which he played more than 17 games (hey, I'm tryin' here). Perhaps the best of "The Good" is how professionally Eminger has acted (publicly, at least), throughout the most difficult season of his career (then again, if you paid me a million bucks to just sorta hang out, I could probably suck it up too).

The Bad: After a five-goal/13-assist campaign in 2005-06 (in just 66 games), Emmy has just one goal and a minus-18 rating in 88 regular season games since. His points-per-game fell from .27 in 2005-06 to .25 in 2006-07 and all the way to .10 this year, and while his ice time also dropped in each of the past two years, his production per minute fell off at a much greater rate this season. Despite taking only four minor penalties all season, he was fourth on the team in penalties taken per 60 minutes. The biggie under "The Bad," of course, is the fact that he couldn't break the lineup for most of the year, even for some must-win games in which Sami Lepisto was given a shot instead. Eminger's use this past season-and-a-half remains one of the great unsolved mysteries in Capland.

The Vote: Rate Eminger on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Questions: Potentially an RFA this summer, should the Caps re-sign Eminger (almost unquestionably they'll qualify him) or let the former first round pick (taken ahead of Alex Semin, by the way) walk. If he is re-signed, what role do you see him playing on the 2008-09 Caps? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.

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