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Florida Panthers acquire Defenseman Steve Eminger from Tampa Bay

In return Florida sent D Noah Welch and a 3rd round pick. From Sports Network-

The Florida Panthers did make a trade involving a defenseman on Wednesday, however, it didn't involve Jay Bouwmeester. Instead, they acquired defenseman Steve Eminger from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Noah Welch and a third-round pick in the 2009 draft.

This marks the third time Eminger has been traded since the end of last season. He was dealt to Philadelphia from Washington in a 2008 draft-day deal and posted two assists in 12 games with the Flyers before being traded to Tampa Bay along with Steve Downie for Matt Carle in early November.

The 25-year-old recorded four goals and 19 assists in 50 games with the Lightning. In 274 career games with Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, Eminger has notched 10 goals, 58 assists and 265 penalty minutes.

Eminger has a career -48 rating. That's terrible but could be a result of his not playing for very good teams and being rushed to the NHL after being selected 12th in the 2002 draft by the Washington Capitals.

John McGourty fills us in on the maybe the most important aspect of this trade.

The trade reunites Eminger with Panthers coach Peter DeBoer, with whom Eminger won the 2003 Memorial Cup as a member of the OHL Kitchener Rangers. Eminger has since struggled in his six-year NHL career.

*****

The difference between Eminger in juniors and the NHL has been astounding. In Kitchener, he controlled play, offensively and defensively. He was well positioned and strong on defense, and crafty with the puck on offense, quarterbacking the power play.

Until he joined the Lightning, Eminger showed little of those skills and even less confidence. Reuniting with DeBoer could be exactly what he needs.

In light of that and how Welch didn't fit in Florida's scheme of things, I think the gamble on Eminger is worth it.

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