Position: Forward – Left Wing
Age/Physical Stats: 23/ Ht:6’/Wt:205lbs/Shoots: L
NHL Experience: 112GM 15G/31P (Playoffs – 23GM 6G/8P)
Notes: Former 1st round pick (2010) acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in the Carl Hagelin trade. The Rangers like his size, speed, hands and youth. There is upside here if Vigneault and his coaching staff can round Etem into a steady performer.
He has spent a lot of time in the AHL over the course of three seasons and has had an underwhelming camp so far, scoring no goals, no points and posting a -2 +/- through five games. AV has attributed Etem’s lack of production to him learning a news system. Some critics disagree and posit that he’s just not that good.
Etem isn’t Hagelin, but we wouldn’t need him to be. What the Rangers need from him is a points contribution somewhere close to Hagelin’s, the disruptive effect of his speed and sound checking. He is signed for the bare minimum and would become an RFA following this season if he makes the cut. Getting close to what a Hags provided for less than a quarter of the cost is a win. If he doesn’t make it, he will be waived and almost certainly claimed by a team looking for a quick winger with undeveloped upside and playoff experience.