|Rangers improve with no-cost
Every season the trading deadline rolls around and each OHL GM has a certain number of chips with which they can gamble with, be they expendable players or picks, which they will utilize to attempt to use them to improve their respective clubs. Rangers fans watched the deadline come and go. Peter DeBoer wasn't bluffing, he came to the table for a look, exchanged lower value chips and left the Casino: Trade Deadline with significantly heavier pockets than he entered with. Was DeBoer successful in beating the casino? Did he sneak away some of the other team's chips as he did earlier this season with David Clarkson who came from the Belleville Bulls and player of the week winner: Nathan O'Nabigon who was 'rescued' from the Ice Dogs? Peter DeBoer may have just gotten lucky and picked up a gigantic door prize when Steve Eminger was returned to the Rangers from the Washington Capitals. The news of Eminger's return came only 3 days prior to the deadline. DeBoer did have one ace up his sleeve, a 19 year old winger who was playing college hockey in Miami, Ohio.
Trade Day Synopsis:
Bill Kinkel was the Rangers' third round pick in the 2001 OHL entry draft, a rare 1984 pick in a bantam draft filled with '85 kids. Bill Kinkel a relative unknown in the 2001 draft was taken directly from a US high school. His adjustment to the OHL game tempo was a slow one last season, he finished his first season with one goal and two assists while playing in 53 games. His only goal came on the south side of the boarder during a during a huge 3-2 win over the Plymouth Whalers, in coach Peter DeBoer's old OHL home. This season has seen Kinkel's offensive production increase dramatically. His 7 goals and 12 assists prior to the trade deadline can atest to this. Bill Kinkel played on several of the Rangers lines. The first line with Campbell and Roy, the second with Richards and O'Nabigon, the third with Clarkson and McGrath, but in the end seemed to find a spot on the fourth line after Jesse Boucher arrived in town. The 9th round New Jersey Devils' draft pick has amazing size if anyone can exploit it, with some of the early returns from the Frontenacs it appears as if they are the team to do so.
With ice time prospects looking slim because of the arrival of Jesee Boucher and that bumping him to the fourth line, Kinkel's agent asked for a trade. The Rangers would comply and Bill Kinkel would be sent to the Kingston Frontenacs for a 4th round draft pick. A little earlier in the season, last year the Rangers sent center Scott Sheppard to the Kingston Frontenacs for similar compensation, a 4th round pick, with the way the Frontenacs have performed since Greg Bignell has moved to head coach, that 4th rounder might not be as high as the Rangers had anticipated.
Through a personal connection to Rangers assistant coach and GM Steve Spott, Jesse Boucher left off of the US College bandwaggon and joined the Kitchener Rangers against the Guelph Storm. In his first game he played on a line with Derek Roy and Gregory Campbell, he was almost the overtime hero twice, unfortunately the Rangers had to settle for a 2-2 tie. Boucher would score his first OHL goal in a 5-1 victory over the Saginaw Spirit. Playing nearly bi-weekly with the his college club: Miami of Ohio wasn't enough for the former tier II sniper who notched 51 goals while adding 40 assists last season. Scoring totals very similar to Rangers overage free agent big winger: Jeff Szwez whom scored 47 goals and added 48 assists in a 48 game schedule, the biggest difference between the two other than their size, is that Jeff Szwez had the benefit of attending the Rangers camp with the rookies, playing in the exhibition schedule and gradually aclimatizing himself the vigorous pace of the OHL game.
Steve Eminger return to the Rangers lineup gives the Rangers seven 4th year OHL players including: George Halkidis, Scott Dickie, T.J. Eason, Derek Roy, Marcus Smith, and Matt Grennier. Eminger has had a rollercoaster year involving stops in Washington where he played 17 games with the Capitals recording two assists, and afterwards he joined fellow Rangers' Derek Roy and Gregory Campbell at the World Junior Championships in Halifax, NS. Steve Eminger was the first of 9 sparkling draft choices by the Rangers in the last midget draft in 1999. Eminger taken 4th overall was the first in a group of picks, many of which are still in the OHL.
Last season Eminger was named to the second
CHL All-Star team, the top OHL defenseman named to the team. Steve
Eminger stands 6'2", and 200 pounds, his size and strength while they are
strong assets for any defender do not outweigh his skating in terms of
importance. Many times last season Eminger was forced to log in excess
of 30 minutes in ice time while playing alongside captain: Nick Policelli.
Eminger will be looked to bolster an already strong powerplay. Eminger
has not scored in any of his 4 games but does have 8 assists. Perhaps
Andre Benoit has been the biggest beneficiary of Eminger's return.
Both in Owen Sound and against the Colts on home ice Benoit recorded a
pair of powerplay goals while playing alongside Eminger. The extra
attention given to Eminger along with the dangerous blueline crew of Marcus
Smith and George Halkidis who lies in wait behind the top unit gives the
Rangers a unique dynamic method to create offense.