Every Thursday from now until the U.S. National Junior Team’s pre-tournament camp roster is announced, United States of Hockey will highlight a candidate for the team. We’ll be taking a look at players from the near locks to the dark-horse candidates to the out-of-left-field possibilities.
Emerson Etem — Right Wing
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif. Birthdate: June 16, 1992
Height/Weight: 6’1″ / 197
Current Team: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
NHL Rights: Anaheim Ducks (2010, 1st round, 29th overall)
National Team Experience: U.S. National Under-17 Team (NTDP, 2008-09); U.S. National Junior Team (2011)
Unfortunately for Emerson Etem, he’s better known for a disparaging tweet about the city of Buffalo, than he is about his performance at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in which the U.S. National Junior Team.
Etem was brought into the U.S. National Junior Team last year to provide some scoring punch, but had just one goal in tournament play. A player of his caliber should never be a non factor, but he essentially was during that tournament. However, there’s reason to believe that won’t be happening if Etem is granted another chance to represent the U.S. at the 2012 WJC.
The way he finished last season and the way he’s begun this year for Medicine Hat may be an indication of what Team USA could expect from Etem in his potential second go-around at the World Junior Championship.
After posting 45 goals and 80 points in the WHL last season, Etem is off to a torrid start for the Tigers in 2011-12. With 13 goals and 17 points in his team’s first eight games, Etem was most recently named the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Week. That kind of production you simply cannot ignore. Can his WHL play translate into World Junior success this time? Perhaps with that extra experience under his belt, it will.
The Anaheim Ducks signed Etem this past spring and he earned some time in Anaheim’s training camp before being sent back to the Hat. Having that short stint of pro experience under his belt has to help, if only a little.
Because of his previous World Junior experience and his astounding production in the WHL, there’s little doubt Etem is going to get tapped again by USA Hockey. He has the speed that Dean Blais covets and the scoring touch the team will require in an effort to get back into gold-medal contention.
Notes on Etem:
– Spent his 15-year-old season at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and helped the prep team win the USA Hockey Tier I 18 & Under National Championship
– Spent one year at the National Team Development Program, where he finished second on the U.S. National Under-17 Team with 53 points.
– A product of the LA Hockey Club, a youth hockey organization that has been churning out a bunch of elite talent of late.
– Comes from a family of rowers. Etem’s mother, Patricia, is a two-time U.S. Olympian in the sport.
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This kid is a stud who can absolutely play the game of hockey. I know he didn’t have many points in last year’s junior championship but so what, that was one tournament. Look at his body of work and it is amazing. The Ducks have a great future prospect here who will one day help them win some hockey games.