If Emerson Etem isn’t NHL ready after turning out 61 goals in and 107 points in 65 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers, than I don’t know if anybody is. He’s at least earned a shot, and with the Anaheim Ducks second line open for business, he should get it this coming season.
Etem, who is a southern California native, was drafted by Anaheim in the first round (29th overall) of the 2010 NHL draft. He’s now 20 years old and could be looking at his first real shot at a Ducks roster spot.
Considering coach Bruce Boudreau’s tendency to want to roll three scoring lines instead of two, and that he has stated that there will be a lot of players pushing for jobs in this year’s training camp, we could see some new blood in the Anaheim lineup. As the WHL’s first 60 goal scorer in 11 years, Etem should be at the top of the food chain.
Etem’s speed and ability to create scoring chances off of the rush is ripe for Boudreau’s offensive style. In Washington, Boudreau built the Capitals entire offensive scheme off of speed and a fast break attack. He’ll now have a full year to integrate that game plan with Anaheim’s slower paced cycling style. If Etem can bridge the gap and give Boudreau some real speed and quickness on the wing, he’ll get his fair share of games and ice time.
The good news for Etem is that Boudreau has already said that Saku Koivu will be moved to the third line, that likely means that Teemu Selanne will be moved with him, creating Boudreau’s coveted third scoring line, and leaving the second line almost entirely wide open.
There will be room for at least two or three more players in Anaheim, and with such a rich prospect pool, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t use that resource to try and fill those spots. When Etem enters his third training camp, he’ll find himself in the best situation he could be in, with the greatest chance of earning a roster spot and getting a chance to prove himself at the NHL level.