#15. Emerson Etem | C | Medicine Hat (WHL)
Date of Birth: June 16th, 1992 Height: 6.00 Weight: 174lbs. Shoots: L Season Statistics: Regular Season | 72GP 37G 28A 65P 26PIM Playoffs | 12GP 7G 3A 10P 0PIM TSR Midterm Rank: 21 | Position Rank: 10th Forwards League Rank: 5th WHL | Country Rank: 4th USA
Joining the Medicine Hat Tigers as a 17 year old rookie, Emerson Etem took the Western Hockey League by storm in the 2009-10 season. After posting 19 goals and 33 points in 40 games with the US National Development team last year, Etem decided to go the Canadian Junior route, a decision that seems to have paid off. While playing in all 72 of the Tigers’ regular season games, Etem scored 37 goals – more than any other first year WHLer; also adding 28 assists for 65 points, fourth amongst WHL rookies. He would go on to add 7 goals and 10 points in only 12 playoff games, leading the Tigers in scoring in the postseason.
Etem displays an impressive skillset, but what might be most impressive is his ability to fade away from the play and seem almost invisible – only to appear and strike when you least expect him to. He has an NHL caliber wrist shot that almost always hits it’s mark, as characterized by his high goal total. Etem is also a great skater, with quick acceleration and blazing high end speed, and works tirelessly on both sides of the puck. These traits earned him an invite to the CHL Top Prospect’s game, where he put his skills on display, scoring a slick shorthanded goal. Etem showcased his two-way capabilities all season long in the WHL, as only four players scored more than Etem’s 5 shorthanded markers this season.
There are some concerns with Etem’s skating stride, perhaps mainly due to the fact that Etem skates hunched over, with his head down; which might open him up to devestating open ice hits. While it may not be the most orthodox syle, he is one of the quicker skaters in the entire draft. Etem isn’t much of a physical factor on the ice, as evidenced by his 26 penalty minutes (and 0 in the playoffs), but he is able to use his speed effectively on the forecheck, and in the defensive end to gain possession of the puck.
A native of Long Beach, California, Emerson Etem has followed a recent trend of top NHL prospects from the so-called “Sun Belt”. With solid credentials at every level, including time spent at the famous Shattock-St. Mary’s prep school in Minnesota, it’s hard to question Etem’s talent and commitment to being a professional hockey player. He is a very focused and determined player, and will make every effort to get to the next level in his career.
Pros: Great skater, excellent shot, hard worker
Cons: Awkward stride, lack of physicality
Skillset Comparison: Michael Cammalleri