2010 NHL Entry Draft: Ducks come up 'winners' of 1st round with Fowler, Etem

fowlercam.jpgDeclaring a winner regarding often-raw 18 and 19-year-old hockey players is almost as absurd as pinning the future of your NHL franchise on them. Still, that being said, if I had to pick a “winner” of the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft it would be the Anaheim Ducks.

The team landed much-ballyhooed defensive gem Cam Fowler with their No. 12 pick and turned boos to uproarious cheers when they drafted California-product Emerson Etem with their Pronger trade-fueled 29th pick.

Many mock drafts tabbed the offensively gifted defenseman Fowler as high as No. 3. In fact, the Ducks didn’t even interview him at the Combine this year; they figured it was unlikely that he would drop that far. Often times in sports, a player will see his value free-fall out of nowhere due to health or even personality concerns (see: the NFL’s Randy Moss). It’s unclear if there was some “intel” on Fowler that made teams sour on him, but if not, the Ducks might have landed the steal of the draft. Here’s a quick video that shows the young D’s impressive speed.

Long beach-native Emerson Etem has serious draft day bargain written all over him, as well (and not just because of the ovation he received from the crowd) Anaheim Calling features a nice write-up on the intriguing prospect who lit up the WHL last season.

The book on Etem is that he’s got a great shot, incredible speed and a strong work ethic. He gives a solid interview, and he’s worked hard to develop his game and his body, which he put on display with Combine Fitness Testing Top 10 finishes in Aerobic Fitness Test Duration, 4 Jump Average Height, Vertical Jump, Leg Power, Curl-Ups, and Pull Strength.

His flaws? He relies on that speed to the outside a little too much i.e. not all that creative offensively, and that gives the impression of a player who’s a little bit raw.

Again, it’s important to emphasize that draft analysis is akin to lottery forecasting. Some of the most criticized picks (such as Ryan Johansen to Columbus or Dylan McIlrath to the Rangers) could end up being the best players in the draft.

You never know, but if I had to guess, the Ducks improved themselves the most … at least during the higher-spectacle first round. At least without the advantage of hindsight.

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    Stars, Rangers do their Caps – Pens impression in wild win for Dallas

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    If you watched only Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers game and yesterday’s manic Washington Capitals contest, you might believe that you were transported to the days of the 1988 Smythe Division.

    Just ask Justin Williams.

    That Penguins – Capitals game ended with an 8-7 overtime victory for Pittsburgh, while tonight’s 7-6 win for the Stars against the Rangers wasn’t far behind.

    All the goals

    Henrik Lundqvist gave up seven goals, eventually giving way to Magnus Hellberg in the third period. It’s been a rough go of things lately for the future Hall of Famer, with tonight marking the low point.

    The Stars opened up leads of 3-1 in the first period and 7-3 through the first two frames, but as you can guess from the score, the Rangers stormed back with three goals in a surprisingly tight third period.

    Kari Lehtonen saved the day for the Stars, stopping 12 of 12 after taking over about halfway through the third for Antti Niemi.

    Much like with the Penguins – Capitals clash, it was about more than just seeing a lot of goals.

    More than just a high-scoring game

    Cody Eakin and Chris Kreider were in the thick of things. Eakin scored his first goal of 2016-17, a 7-3 tally that absurdly ended up being the game-winner. Kreider began the Rangers’ rally with his 18th goal of the season, hit Eakin with his own helmet during a fight and created his typical brand of chaos.

    As much as this might sting the Rangers, and as concerned as they may be about Lundqvist’s play, at least it looks like Ryan McDonagh avoided injury despite this scary fall:

    OK, so these four teams dropped the gauntlet for wild games this week. Who’s going to carry the torch on Wednesday?

    Report: Islanders granted permission to interview Gerard Gallant

    NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 29:  Head coach Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers speaks during Media Day for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Gerard Gallant might not go long between head coaching gigs.

    The New York Islanders have received permission to speak with Gallant, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

    Gallant was an assistant coach with the Islanders from 2007 to 2009, so there’s some familiarity there with GM Garth Snow (it was early on in his reign). Gallant was unceremoniously fired by the Florida Panthers in late November, with plenty of rumors circulating that he didn’t jive well with the franchise’s analytics-driven mindset. Gallant denied those claims, for whatever that’s worth.

    (If such rumblings are true, perhaps Gallant would agree with the questionable logic of giving limited, but heavy-hitting forward Cal Clutterbuck a contract extension. That would be an interesting question to ask him during an interview, eh?)

    Doug Weight is currently considered the Islanders interim head coach after the firing of Jack Capuano.

    About the only bummer for everyone outside of Weight is that the Islanders already played their three games against the Panthers this season, so we’d have to wait until 2017-18 for whatever drama would come of that.

    Robin Lehner’s furious anger seemingly directed at Sabres after being pulled

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    Update: There’s now full video to get a better sense of Robin Lehner‘s behavior.

    The Maple Leafs ended up beating the Sabres 4-3 after Buffalo made the game awfully interesting.

    ***

    Late last season, Ben Scrivens expressed relief in avoiding a fight with Robin Lehner, the Buffalo Sabres goalie he called “a bit of a psycho.” It sure seemed like the Sabres were the target of his frightening anger on Tuesday.

    Lehner really didn’t seem too happy after being pulled from the game, whether that anger was directed at Dan Bylsma, his Sabres teammates or … everyone?

    Watch him rage out after getting the hook following Toronto’s three-goal outburst in about nine minutes:

    /Cowers in fear.

    Onlookers seem to believe that the tension was real.

    Raise your hand if you wouldn’t want to be around Lehner right now. Here’s the impressive Auston Matthews 3-2 goal that ended his night early:

    Jared Spurgeon shows he has hands like a surgeon (Video)

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    Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon has a pretty good knack for scoring goals, especially considering the fact that he doesn’t always take a ton of shots.

    Maybe Bruce Boudreau should consider asking him to fire away a little more often.

    You won’t see many prettier examples of hand-eye coordination than Spurgeon’s power-play goal from Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, which gave the Wild a 1-0 lead. Watch it in the video above.

    It’s almost impressive enough to justify rhyming his last name with surgeon. You know, theoretically.