Emerson Etem, and John Gibson: Ducks Prospects making impact in junior playoffs
After leading the WHL in goals with 61 in 65 games Anaheim Ducks prospect Emerson Etem is leading the WHL playoffs with 6 goals, and 10 points. He has been big reason for the Medicine Hat Tigers leading the series 3-0 over the Saskatoon Blades. Etem had a goal, and an assist in the Tigers game 1 5-2 win. Then he came back with an even bigger game in game 2 getting 2 goals, and 3 assists in the Tigers 5-3 win. Then to top that off Etem gets all 3 of the Tigers goals in a 3-2 over time victory. The Tigers play again tonight in Saskatoon, and if they win they advance to the next round in the WHL playoffs and will likely play the Brandon Wheat Kings who finished the regular season in 6th place and have a 3-1 edge in their series against the Calgary Hitmen who finished their regular season in 3rd.
It was thought that if Emerson Etem was out of the playoffs that he could finish the season with the Ducks, but that is now looking highly unlikely as it looks like his Tigers are planning on making a deep run in the playoffs. Etem should however get a long look at training camp next season, and although he has a shot to make the NHL club, he will likely go the route of Kyle Palmieri, and start his pro career playing in the AHL.
Another Duck prospect who is having a huge impact on his junior teams playoffs is John Gibson. Gibson and his Kitchener Rangers are winning their series against the Owen Sound Attack 3-0. Gibson leads the league with a .957 save percentage, and is third in goals against average with a 1.67. Kitchener can also finish their series with a win tonight in game 4. If they advance they play the winner of the Sarnia Sting, and the Saginaw Spirit. I normally do not have much of a rooting interest when a junior team does not have a Duck prospect, but I would love to see Sarnia win this one, so we can see how Gibson does against 2 of the top offensive players in this years draft in Nail Yakupov, and Alex Galchenyuk, both who play for Sarnia. That series is a close one as Sarnia leads the series 2-1.
Gibson is the Ducks top goalie prospect, and probably their best goalie prospect since Ilja Bryzgalov. It is of my assumption that Gibson will return for one more year of juniors next season, before turning pro the following season.