Emerson Etem has had a tough time finding his footing in the NHL, and his inability to crack the Ducks’ roster on a full-time basis early in his career led to Anaheim shipping him to the New York Rangers ahead of the 2015-16 season.
But now, as the Ducks prepare to suit up for their season-opener on Thursday, Etem finds himself back with the team that drafted him 29th overall in 2010.
Etem, 24, was placed on waivers by the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday as they set their roster ahead of the start of their campaign, and as the waiver claims came in Thursday afternoon, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Etem has been plucked off waivers by the Ducks. All told, Etem’s stay outside the Ducks organization has spanned 58 games that saw him score seven goals and 15 points.
As a member of the Rangers, a stay that lasted a scant half-season over which he played just 19 games, Etem rarely saw the ice. Though he managed three assists during his brief stay, he skated 11:04 per game and fell out of favor quickly with coach Alain Vigneault. It wasn’t much better for Etem in Vancouver, either, but he did at least have a more regular role under Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. Etem managed seven goals and 12 points in 39 games while averaging 14:09 of ice time.
With Etem back in the lineup, there’s a chance he could get a look somewhere in the Ducks’ bottom-six, which is where he has fit in the lineup throughout his career. While he’s shown flashes of brilliance here and there, he’s never been a consistent scorer and, as noted by his average ice times, the chances for him to expand his role beyond the third- or fourth-line have been limited.
The hope, however, is that Etem has found his scoring touch on a more consistent basis or he can build off of some of the promising things he did during his three years with the Ducks. Etem’s output in his short stay with Vancouver was the second-best per-game production of his career, and the only time Etem has consistently performed better was during a 29-game run with Anaheim in 2013-14. He managed seven goals and 11 points during that stay.
It doesn’t hurt the Ducks to have Etem as an option for the bottom-six, either, because the team is currently built to have much more physical punch than it does scoring ability on the bottom two lines. Ryan Garbutt and Jared Boll are two of the four bottom-six wingers, and replacing one of those two with Etem could be an option against speedier, more offensively minded opponents.
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