The Arizona Coyotes added to their forward depth Wednesday by signing free agent Emerson Etem to a one-year, two-way deal.
Etem, who has played for three NHL teams in his career after being drafted in the 1st round in 2010, has never reached his offensive potential in the league but has carved out a niche as a two-way player who is competent with the puck and in his defensive zone.
As a right wing, Etem will have a chance to win a third or fourth line spot with Arizona this year and maybe get a chance to save what has been a roller coaster of a career.
Emerson Etem Pro Stats
|2015-16||New York Rangers||NHL||19||0||3||3||2||-4|
|2016-17||San Diego Gulls||AHL||1||1||0||1||0||-2|
Who is Emerson Etem?
The Long Beach, California native was a bright prospect during his junior career, spending time with the US National Team Development Program before scoring 252 points in 202 career games with Medicine Hat in the WHL.
Once turning pro before the 2012-13 season, Etem split time between the Ducks NHL squad and their minor league affiliate in Norfolk. In 38 NHL games that year, Etem put up a respectable stat line of 3 goals, 7 assists, and 10 points while playing fourth line minutes.
However, Etem never saw his production progress, as he failed to tally more than 11 points in either of the next two seasons with the Ducks, playing 29 and 45 games respectively. In the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs though, Etem showed flashes of his potential. In 12 postseason games that year, he scored three goals and registered a positive plus/minus rating.
Despite his testing three-year initiation into the league, Etem’s dozen playoff games were good enough for the Rangers to take a chance on him, acquiring him as the centerpiece prospect in the trade that sent Carl Hagelin to the Ducks.
A restricted free-agent, Etem signed a new contract with New York before the start of a short-lived 2015-16 season in the Big Apple. In 19 games, Etem scored no goals and had a -4 plus/minus before being shipped to Vancouver in early January.
In western Canada, Etem experienced his most successful stretch in the NHL. In the final 39 games of the 2016 season, he scored 7 goals and 5 assists and averaged more than 14 minutes of ice time per night. The back half of his season was good enough to earn Etem a one-year deal in Vancouver that summer.
But, Etem was never able to make good on his deal with the Canucks as he was put on the waiver wire days before the beginning of last season. The Ducks claimed him once again, but only dressed him three times before he suffered his season-ending knee injury in December.
This summer was the first time Etem hit the market as an unrestricted free agent, but without a bounce back year in the desert, this first UFA contract might be his last shot to stay in the NHL.