Posts Tagged ‘emerson etem’

Tonight’s Game:
Phoenix @ Anaheim, 7:00pm start at the Honda Center. Audio stream available at http://ducks.nhl.com/index.html

The previous post, A look at the intangibles really begins this blog’s Ducks coverage of the 2013-14 season. If you haven’t at least skimmed it yet, you’ll be better equipped to understand this one and forthcoming posts through training camp.

At first blush, swapping out Daniel Winnick from the “checking line” for Emerson Etem would indicate a slightly different role for Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. It ain’t necessarily so. All three forwards are proven penalty killers and defensively responsible. The move should improve scoring from the checking line. As Coach noted, “Their speed will give opposing teams fits.” Some sandpaper is sacrificed but Etem’s overall toughness shouldn’t be underrated.
The skill sets are complimentary. As noted all are defensively responsible and great skaters. Koivu and Cogliano are decent playmakers and finishers. Etem is a promising sniper.

One move this blogger has been waiting for and referenced here previously more than once is trying Daniel Winnick at center. Now wwe understand why that hasn’t happened until now.  “We wanted to try this last year, but there was just never a break, and we didn’t want to throw him into the fire.” Boudreau added, “He’s going to stay there for a while, at center, during the preseason,”
With Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly on the wings, Winnick could well result in a very physical Stopper Line reminiscent of Pahlsson, Niedermayer & Moen.
Memo to fourth line center hopefuls Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Antoine Laganiere: Pick it up a notch!

Notice we have comments from Coachevidencing his thinking on the aforementioned opportunities. Now for one that isn’t being talked about in the blogs or reported on by mainstream media:

Where does Kyle Palmieri fit? Is he Bobby Ryan 2.0? The guy we never find a spot for and instead move him around and ask him to spark whatever line he happens to be on that shift? Jeez, I hope not.
In the early going at least Dustin Penner hasn’t played himself off the top line. Bones, Flash and Silfver are developing chemistry and producing results. The 3rd and 4th lines could be set.
Palmieri has earned more than a 4th line role. He’s aiming to become The Twins linemate. To earn that plum he’ll have to prove himself better than Penner and overcome locker room politics. Not an easy task for a guy who has only recently established his NHL cred.
Boudreau wouldn’t reveal his lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against Phoenix (7 p.m., Honda Center), but said “we’ve got the first three games mapped out, in a perfect world, and all seven games mapped out for the goalies.”

Note to credentialed local media: The only reason we don’t have an answer to, “Where Palmieri fits” is because you aren’t asking the question. Aside to readers: Credentialed media claims the main reason for lost audience is increased competition. Just once I’d like them to consider the quality of their reportage.

Note to me: Exhale ;)

Three of the above quotes can be found in this report by Kyle Shohara of AnaheimDucks.com.

Ducks have some interesting parts and pieces. Everybody makes tangible and intangible contributions. This post is about the latter. In this post we’ll identify some of those intangibles and pose the question; Can this Ducks team come together and realize it’s potential?

After a great short season, our Ducks entered the playoffs with great expectations that were quickly dashed by the Detroit Red Wings in a thrilling series. Consequently, Coach Boudreau has defined this campaign as “Unfinished Business.” It’s a great goal defining mantra designed to motivate the players both individually and collectively. Identifying Bruce Boudreau’s most impactful intangible is so easy. It’s his humanity.

To understand the humanity in Gabby take a look at how he honors 9/11.

Gabby’s personal unfinished business is playoff success and get the most from his own personal OT game.

You could have knocked me over with a feather as I read Francois Beauchemin will probably start the season just 4.5 months following reconstructive knee surgery. Beauch is the kind of man whose respect other men aspire to earn. This man played through serious injury to become included in the Norris Trophy conversation. A feat even more amazing when one considers Beauchemin isn’t unanimously considered a top pairing D-man. He’s also not thought of as a heart and soul player though his heart and soul is his greatest single intangible contribution to the team.

Ducks best players, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are just entering their prime. Getz having earned his way into the Hart Trophy nomination. Pears has already earned the MVP award.
Bob Murray, at the urging of the Ducks captain, has reunited The Twins with their Cup team line-mate, Dustin Penner. Pancake appears committed to get a career that seemed to waiver off track during his two seasons with the Kings. Will returning to Anaheim do for Penner what it did for Teemu Selanne?
What was once the Kid Line on our Ducks Cup team is now Top Line expected to lead the team back into the elite of the league.

There’s also a very impressive veteran contingent led by Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. They will be joined at mid-season by Sheldon Souray. The contributions made by this group reaches far beyond their combined stats. They lead by example and the shared wisdom accumulated through a combined half century of NHL experience.

Ducks have a couple-3 other vets, Andrew Cogliano, Daniel Winnick and Bryan Allen who play an accountable and responsible brand of hockey. Cogs is an NHL Iron Man who can play all three forward positions and in any situation. He is our Ducks Swiss army knife. Contributions of Winnick and Allen are best measured in the reluctance of opposing players to battle position or the biscuit.

The cherry may well be the youth contingent that is made up of 8 guys well positioned to take the loosely defined next step in their respective careers.
Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino, Jakub Silfverberg and Kyle Palmieri. All four are counted upon to make significant offensive contributions.
Level-headed and well grounded, Emerson Etem will continue to play ES and PK. He will have to start scoring to earn PP time.
Peter Holland, Patrick Maroon and Sami Vatanen will be given an opportunity to establish themselves as bonafide NHL players.
If there’s one guy who needs to play with desperation, it’s Luca Sbisa. Only 23, Luca has 5 NHL seasons and 236 regular season games behind him. In all that time he hasn’t established himself as much more than a 3rd pairing, spot played D-man. It wasn’t that long ago many of Bob Murray’s Kool-Aid drinkers were predicting Sbisa would make us forget Chris Pronger. He doesn’t need to be great but he does need to become consistently accountable and responsible.

The aforementioned 8 most represent the affirmation “Unfinished Business.” They bring the naivety, passion and energy of youth.

Vying for spot duty are role players Matt Beleskey, Mark Fistric, Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz.

Backing the guys up is arguably the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth have earned the trust and respect of their teammates. Having trust in your goaltenders is quite possibly the single most impactful intangible benefit.

Steve Whitney has been catching the eye of many bloggers early in camp. Speed is eye-catching and Whitney floats around the rink at mach speed. He isn’t likely to make the show this year. Conversely, Rickard Rakell has failed to make a positive impression anyone during the first half week.

These Ducks might well be a year or 3 away from finishing their unfinished business. They do have a broad range of complimentary skill sets on the roster. Additionally, they have depth to replace the various parts lost to retirement or diminished skills internally.

In this sense, these Ducks are organizationally structured similarly to our Cup winning team that prospered with 9 sophomores on the roster.

We may have even finally replaced Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer though it will have taken 5 D-men to do it. Fowler and Vatanen for Nieds and Souray, Beauchemin and Allen for Pronger.

The talent is there for these Ducks to push themselves into NHL elite status. The questions are; will it all come together? Will they remain healthy? Will they peak in the playoffs?

Arguably the most competitive training camp in Ducks recent history is set to open Thursday. There are 56 players who received invitations though two, Sheldon Souray and Andrew O’Brien are injured. Most are getting a taste of NHL competition and will be gone long before the season opener on October 2.

Among the 56 include, 6 goalies, 17 D and 33 forwards. One name you might recognize is NHL journeyman Garnet Exelby. He hasn’t played in the NHL since appearing in 51 games for the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs.  Exelby is here on Professional Try Out (PTO) contract. Realistically, the hard-nosed Xman is auditioning for a two-way contract.

At center Ducks have an opening. The leading candidates are Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell. One or both of Antoine Laganiere or William Karlsson could make the decision difficult. Rakell could also get a look on wing.

Ducks are stacked on the wings and have quality players competing for four openings. The Twins, Bonino-Selanne need a winger and there are the two fourth line jobs up for grabs. Checking line wingers and PK specialists Daniel Winnick and Andrew Cogliano are likely set as top nine role players. The leading candidates for the openings include Dustin Penner, Jakub Silfverberg, Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey, Patrick Maroon and Brad Staubitz. The latter two are on one way contracts. Other notables who could earn serious consideration include Devante Smith-Pelly, Max Friberg, Steve Whitney and Nicolas Kerdiles.

Via Jim Hodges, Virginian-Pilot, correspondent:

“From a contract standpoint, there isn’t a lot of room,” notes Coach Boudreau, “But if a guy comes in and stands out, you have to take a look at him,” no matter what kind of contract the player has, Boudreau added.

On the backline Ducks are looking to replace the retired Toni Lydman. Injuries to Sheldon Souray and Francois Beauchemin could necessitate extra long looks for a couple of youngsters. Sami Vatanen is the leading candidate to earn a top six spot. Cam Fowler, Ben Lovejoy, Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa are the healthy incumbents. Newly signed veteran journeyman Mark Fistric is a serviceable depth D-man.

Barring injury, Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth will start the season in net. Frederick Anderson, John Gibson and Igor Bobkov are look at Norfolk with odd man out dropping to the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL. Etienne Marcoux is in camp on an Amateur Try Out (ATO) and could earn a spot in the org with a strong showing.

Due to one-way contracts signed with Brad Staubitz and Patrick Maroon, Ducks will start the season with a 23 man roster made up of 14 forwards, 7 D-men and 2 goalies.

All camp invitees report today for medical checkup.

This report is translated from the original Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.fi. The reporter, Pekka Jolanin reports that Teemu is readying himself for a return to the NHL, but not necessarily to our Ducks.

Selanne has not yet made a final decision in respect of the next season. All, however, indicate very strongly that Teemu’s career will continue for at least a year.
– In front is the biggest decision of my career. I have three options that I can choose from, Selanne said.
Ridge options most likely to have continued in Anaheim. The other two options are to play in another NHL club or career termination.

Play for another NHL team? At least now Bob Murray’s out of the blue comment that, “I’ll do whatever is necessary to sign Teemu” make sense.

This is what happens when people are less than forthright. If Teemu wants to play elsewhere that’s his right and his business. But if Bob Murray hadn’t been gaming the situation, dropping hints at every turn that our Ducks are heading in a different direction, we could have had a clean break.

Yes, I have confirmed the story. It’s the first time since our Ducks Cup win that Teemu has stated publicly that he might sign to play elsewhere. The Winnipeg Jets would welcome him back but they have even less cap room than our Ducks do.

I’m told that Teemu plans on meeting with Coach Boudreau and GM Bob Murray upon his return to SoCal. He will be looking for a commitment that will include top six minutes, 19-21 minutes per game and 1st unit PP time. If he doesn’t get that he will look to going to Winnipeg or elsewhere.

It’s all well and good that Teemu will meet with the Coach and the GM but what about the Captain and his sidekick? They want Penner. What happens in the room if Teemu pushes Pancake down the depth chart? Do The Twins still get Flash the puck? This is the junk that can happen when ownership gets between management and the players.

Now regardless of what happens, Teemu Selanne’s status is needlessly very messy. It’s certainly no way to run a railroad. At least not if you want the trains arriving and departing on time.

Does anyone really think that if Bob Murray wanted Teemu back that he wouldn’t have kept more cap room available? And if Flash returns at this point the possible outcomes are negative. (1) He risks losing his top six TOI to one of Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri and/or Dustin Penner or (2) He wins or is given a top six job and his presence inhibits the development of Etem or Palmieri.

The lure of one last Olympic tournament is compelling. Ducks fans will recall that Scot Niedermayer played at least one additional year primarily so that he could compete in the 2010 Olympics.

This is the disastrous example of what can happen when ownership over rides management. When Nieds was talked out of retiring at the then unheard of, take your time deciding plan, so what if we have to remake the team to accommodate his return, we will and we did.

And here we are again with Teemu Selanne holding up the team from moving forward.

Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and many others have noted that nobody is bigger than the game or the team. Henry Samueli has changed that dynamic.

Yesterday, czhokej and I indulged a rare chance to hang out, share a salad, flirt with waitresses and chat Ducks hockey. The food was tasty, the waitresses good sports and the chat compelling. Here are some quick hits:

First up was the top line and all the events surrounding it. New contracts to Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The Bobby Ryan trade. The signing of Dustin Penner. cz pointed out that Dustin Penner was the top scorer on the Kid Line during our Ducks Cup year.  Pancake was brought in to stabilize the top line. If he’s successful much of the day-to-day roster and roles fall into place. If not, coach will continue to rotate guys off and on, in and out through a seemingly endless search for consistency.

A couple of minutes into the now annual is Teemu coming back, we realized we weren’t sure where he would play. As if to punctuate the moment a mushroom rolled off my fork. Saku’s role has changed and Teemu isn’t a checking line player. First line? For now Dustin Penner is penciled in alongside the Big Dogs. Second line? Does he have enough left to beat out the up and coming Emerson Etem? First unit PP? Teemu lost that job to Nick Bonino and Bobby Ryan last season. When he did get first unit PP line it came when Getzlaf was moved to the point.

If Penner fails, maybe Teemu is the solution on the top line. Much of Penner’s success or lack thereof actually depends on which Getzlaf hits the ice in October. Is it the dominating player we saw during the shortened season or do we get his evil twin, the perimeter playing Giveaway Getz who glides around the ice instead of skating? Eight million doesn’t seem to buy what it used to get you.

While I see Ducks Iron Man Andrew Cogliano as trade bait, we wondered if he would return to the checking line. Cogliano and Emerson Etem showed genuine chemistry on the PK. Could they continue to be a dangerous duo in ES situations?

Coach has said he expects bigger things from Matt Beleskey next season. Could Matt produce those “bigger things” alongside Koivu & Winick? Beleskey would be the shooter and adds a physical element to the checking line.

Nick Bonino will center a line. There’s plenty of competition among his potential linemates. Selanne, Etem are the leading candidates on RW. Palmieri, Silfverberg on LW.

cz notes that Cam Fowler was much improved defensively last season. I noted Scot Niedermayer’s influence as Cam seemed to be taking that rover-D role and trying to control the tempo when he has the puck.

We both hope for more offense from the back line. I see it coming from a luckier and less snake bit Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen. cz is keeping faith with Luca Sbisa. We think Sheldon Souray will take a few games off in back to back and 3 games in 4 nights situations. Though he and Beauchemin should be counted on for 5-6 goals.

The goaltending is solid to spectacular.

Replacing Bobby Ryan and possibly Teemu Selanne won’t be easy. Still, these Ducks could be a real offensive powerhouse next season. Consider, Perry 35-40, Getzlaf 25, Penner, Etem & Palmieri 20+, Bonino, Cogliano, Silfverberg 15+, Koivu, Beleskey 12, Fowler & Vatanen 10. That’s over 200 goals without anybody having a career year or exceeding expectations. Add a handful of goals each from Beauchemin, Souray, Sbisa and the fourth line. All of a sudden we’re enjoying a team that can score anywhere and anytime.

With excellent goaltending behind them the 2013-14 Ducks are a well-organized team primed for success.

That was Ducks GM Bob Murray’s closing statement to conclude Select-a-seat according to blogger Chris D-5 of Anaheim Calling.

Fact is, everything Chris D-5 has reported from Select-A-Seat was previously reported on this blog leading up to the draft. It’s always good to get confirmation in public comments made by the GM though.

Hopefully, this is an indication that our Ducks recognize Mr. Murray’s credibility gap and moves are underfoot to correct the widely held perception. If so, it is welcome and long overdue!

What you can and should appreciate from the GM’s, “We’re not done yet” comment is that he has until the trade deadline before he’s done affecting the 2013-14 roster.

The key times for a trade to happen are late August, along about mid-November around the 20 game or quarter-pole mark teams tend to make need assessments and perform SWOT analysis.

Unless there’s a steal of a deal, look for the serious trade chatter to begin about mid-November. The org is high on Nick Bonino. What isn’t known yet is where he fits, top six or 2nd six. Along with Emerson Etem, Bones may actually be our hardest working Duck.

Peter Holland has nothing left to prove or learn in the AHL. Is he ready to take his game to the next level?

Rickard Rakell will also be pushing for a spot.

Sami Vatanen is the leading candidate to replace UFA Toni Lydman.

Our Ducks have fewer questions entering this season than last. Ironically there is also more competition for jobs from within the org. Especially on the wings.

The roster will most likely consist of 14 forwards, 7 D-men and 2 goalies.

While Murph isn’t done, nothing is imminent. Look for our Ducks to enter camp with the current 23 man roster and make the next moves sometime after the 20 games into the new season.

Ryan Getzlaf is again the key. If the Captain starts strong our Ducks will be winning. This will allow Murph to show some patience with the supporting cast. If Getz starts slow look for Anaheim to be shopping sooner rather than later.

Summer is what former Kings GM Dave Taylor called hockey’s financial season. We agree. With money and contracts in mind, we take a look at our Ducks following the Bobby Ryan trade.

Conventional wisdom dictated that if our Ducks were to move Ryan it would be for a 2nd line center, not cap room. If we have come to expect anything from Bob Murray it’s that he is unconventional. In his post trade interview, Murph said “Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it….”

Ducks are definitely deeper but the better and stronger parts remain to be seen. Murph didn’t mention team speed but we’re definitely faster regardless of who replaces Ryan.

Cap Status:

In the hours following the Ryan trade, Saku Koivu re-upped for one year at $2.5m about a million less than his previous stipend. Obviously, he left money on the table. Today, Ducks announced RFA Matt Beleskey has inked a 2 yr commitment reportedly to be for $2.7m.
Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne remain unsigned as of this writing. Murph did say he expects to chat with Teemu sometime next week
Per CapGeek, Ducks have 22 players signed with $7.84m in cap space. Palmieri and Selanne will likely cost in the $4.5 -5m range, leaving nearly $3m in the cap float. This represents some hard-earned flexibility going forward.

The Roster:

Coach Bruce Boudreau sets his forward lines identically to how previous coach Randy Carlyle did. Gabby sets two guys together and rotates a third in and out, up and down the depth chart. At the moment, he has exactly two sets of two forwards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry; Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnick. Everything else is to be determined at camp.

Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell resume their competition for the two open center spots. This year they could be pushed by Antoine Laganiere and William Karlsson.

At LW, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and newcomer Jakub Silfverberg will each get an opportunity to make The Twins twosome a go to threesome. Patrik Maroon will also get a look. The Twins enjoyed Devante Smith-Pelly and gave him lots of encouragement two seasons ago. DSP shouldn’t be ruled out of the mix but he is a long shot to break into the top six at this point. Max Friberg will be looking to make an impression.
Kyle Palmieri is currently RFA and will certainly compete for the top spot if and when signed.

On RW Corey Perry is a lock on the top line. Pencil in Andrew Cogliano to remain alongside Koivu/Winnick on the checking line. This leaves two spots open. Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey can play either wing giving Coach options. Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz will be looking to earn some TOI. Newcomer Stefan Noesen is eager to move up and could but he’ll probably start the year in Norfolk.

On the back line Ducks will enter camp with a top 7 vying for spots. Write in Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler as next season’s TOI leaders. Ben Lovejoy earned a spot among the top 4. Sheldon Souray will keep his role on the PP but could see reduced TOI in ES situations as the season drags on.  Bryan Allen, Luca Sbisa and Sami Vatanen  will compete  for #5-6 spots. Hampus Lindholm could make that decision very difficult.

Ducks are loaded between the pipes with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Rookies Frederik Andersen , John Gibson and Igor Bobkov will likely compete for spots in Norfolk.

Trade bait:

One of Hiller, Fasth or Andersen. Andrew Cogliano, Luca Sbisa.

Needs:

1 top six center, 1 top four D-man

Summary:

Unless a great trade opportunity is presented look for our Ducks to open camp with the current roster. Those who fretted our team had become top heavy are probably having a cow since the Ryan trade was announced.

This team will be in serious trouble if Ryan Getzlaf doesn’t dominate from puck drop in October. A slow start will be a disaster not only on the ice but also reflected in the revenue streams occurring at the gate, on television and in merchandise sales.

Ducks fans can and should expect more from Corey Perry and Cam Fowler in the stat department. Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri look ready to produce 20+ goal seasons. Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu, Jakub Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino and Peter Holland must provide consistent secondary scoring.

Any additional scoring we get from the blueline and the depth forwards is a bonus.

The goaltending is strong and can overcome defensive lapses and give the team a chance to win most every night. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has shown the ability to steal a game our guys really didn’t deserve to win.

Overall it’s way too soon to make a projection or prediction.