The Rangers have the tenth overall pick in the draft, and while some writers think the Rangers will draft a goalie (for some unknown reason), the Rangers most pressing need at the NHL level is a scorer. In the tenth installment of this series, we look at center Emerson Etem of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.
The 6’0 190 lb 18 year old center has put together a fine rookie season in the WHL, putting up a line of 37-28-65 with 26 PIMs in 72 regular season game. Etem continued his strong play in the playoffs, netting seven goals (and three assists) in 12 playoff games. This season came one year after Etem had a great year with the U-18 US National Team, with a line of 19-14-33 and 16 PIMs in 40 games. Combined, thats 66 goals in 124 games, which is just over a goal every other game.
As alluded to above, Etem is a natural goal scorer. He possesses an absolutely lethal wrist shot that makes him one of the best goal scorers in the draft. In fact, outside of the top two picks, Etem may be the most gifted goal scorer in this year’s draft.
In addition to his lethal shot, Etem also has superior puck handling abilities, which he learned during his developmental years in Minnesota’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Sidney Crosby, Jack Johnson, Zach Parise, Jonathan Toews, Marlon Brando). In a move which really showcases Etem’s determination and dedication to the game, Etem actually moved from Long Beach, CA to Minnesota to play at St. Mary’s.
Where some scouts disagree is with Etem’s skating ability. Some believe it is Etem’s skating ability, mostly his unusual stride, which makes him look smaller than his 6’0 frame, that keeps him out of the top-five or top-ten picks. What isn’t debatable is Emerson’s speed and strength on his skates. His speed, prowess for the net, unreal shot, and strength make him a force to be reckoned with at the offensive level. In regards to his unusual skating style, you can be taught how to skate, you can’t be taught how to find the back of the net as often as Etem.