NHL 2010 Top Draft Prospects: Emerson Etem

Shattuck-St. Mary’s school has given way to top notch hockey talent for decades. From the likes of Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews to Zach Parise and Kyle Okposo, the school is one of the most prestigious in the world when it comes to grooming future hockey players.

Emerson Etem, the 17-year-old center from the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, also graduated from Shattuck-St. Mary’s, then went on to play for the US Developmental Program, where he put up 33 points in 40 games as a 16-year-old.

Drafted in the sixth round, 115th overall by Medicine Hat in the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, Etem made his draft stock fly as he scored 37 goals and 65 points in 72 games of his rookie WHL season. He has continued his hot streak in the playoffs, putting up seven points in just eight games.

The Long Beach, California native will have plenty of company at the NHL Draft when it takes place in Los Angeles later this year. However, he still has much work to do if he hopes to get his name called early in the first round.

“He’s had a real quick adjustment,” Medicine Hat coach Willie Desjardins said. “He really wants to be a player. He worked hard in the offseason so he’s in great physical shape. He knew a lot about our league coming in. He studied it, he researched it, he knew what he was getting into. He’s adjusted real quickly.

“I thought if he had 25 goals this year, 30 goals, he’d have a pretty good year for us,”Desjardins continued. “He’s certainly passed my expectations. He’s an exceptional skater, got real good speed and he’s strong. When he goes down the wall teams havetrouble containing him because of his speed.”

The 6-foot, 194-pound center also has a great work ethic, and his coach sees it.

“He’ll come in lots of times and ask to watch video,” Desjardins said. “There aren’t many players I’ve coached that have come in and asked for video and watched it on their own. He’ll say, ‘Coach, do you have a tape of our last game?’ and he’ll come in and watch it.”

“He has world-class speed and is incredibly creative off the rush,” Sports Illustrated says. “He doesn’t need a lot of room to make something happen. He has a great release that makes him a dynamic finisher.”

“I felt that I do want to make it to the next level, and the quickest way possible is playing in the Western league,” said Etem. “This organization, I think it’s going to help me a lot. It feels like everyone is watching here. It’s a lot of pressure but I like to feel that pressure. I set high standards for myself.”

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for InsideHockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia FlyersHe is the general manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.

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