While I’m sitting here pining away for the Anaheim Ducks' glory days, Emerson Etem is on an absolute tear in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
The Long Beach, CA native has compiled an astonishing 29 goals and 59 points in only 33 regular season games.
Now, as mentioned in my previous article (Turning Back the Clock: 7 Players the Anaheim Ducks Miss) the Ducks have been without a true left-handed shot on the top line ever since the departure of Chris Kunitz. Unknown to me until now, Emerson Etem, though listed as a right wing, actually shoots left.
I'm just throwing it out there.
Assuming his incredible production at the WHL level continues (a pace which would be record-setting for the Medicine Hat Tigers), it is entirely possible that we could see Emerson make Anaheim's starting roster next year coming out of training camp.
This is an interesting possibility to consider as his availability could provide some very viable solutions for Anaheim’s top two lines.
The First Line Spot Alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry:
A top line of Emerson Etem, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry would be intimidating to say the least. Etem brings some much needed speed to this front three, and playing alongside a former Hart Trophy winner and one of the best power forwards in the game would without a doubt help his development.
The Second Line Spot Alongside Bobby Ryan:
Regardless of who centers the second line next year, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu are not likely to be in the picture. Whoever Anaheim fields as a second line center is going to make a huge difference. While filling this spot will likely be dealt with via free agency, we could very easily see a left and right wing tandem of Etem and Bobby Ryan to complement.
Emerson Etem has proven that he is a man among boys in the WHL this year and perhaps it will benefit him in the long run to have this extra year under his belt before making a push to play 60-70 games at the NHL level.
There’s no question that he’s catching the attention of Anaheim’s coaching staff and management. The offensive minded Bruce Boudreau is not likely to be shy about giving him playing time with Anaheim’s proven scorers.
Make no mistake, as far as offensive production in Anaheim is concerned, Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan are still carrying the torch. Nonetheless, I would bet my bottom dollar that 2012-13 could see Emerson Etem's name added to the marathon.