Emerson Etem

Shuffling the Duck: Anaheim demotes Etem, Smith-Pelly


Losers in six of their last eight, the Anaheim Ducks shook things up on Wednesday by demoting 21-year-olds Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem — the latter being club’s first-round pick (29th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — to AHL Norfolk.

Both have been fairly regular contributors this season. Etem sits tied for fifth on the team in goals, with six, and has played in 24 of 27 games while averaging 13:08 TOI per game. Smith-Pelly has notched eight points in 16 games since being recalled in late October, and is averaging just under 13 minutes a night.

That said, Smith-Pelly and Etem have fallen on hard times lately.

Smith-Pelly was a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to Dallas and Etem was held to just 11 minutes (the only Ducks that played less were Daniel Winnik and Patrick Maroon.) Etem did score his sixth goal of the year last night, snapping a six-game pointless drought.

It’s speculative to say these demotions are messages being sent, though. The transactions would allow for the pending returns of Saku Koivu and Francois Beauchemin, both of whom are eligible to come off IR (Smith-Pelly and Etem can go to Norfolk without clearing waivers, as both are still on entry-level deals.)

But it’s also worth noting Etem and Smith-Pelly are going to Norfolk while 32-year-old journeyman Tim Jackman, who was acquired from Calgary last week and was also made a healthy scratch on Tuesday, remains with the Ducks.

Jackman, who played eight minutes in his first two games with Anaheim, would require waivers to be sent to the minors.

Update: Here’s more on the situation, from the O.C. Register…


NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
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Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

“For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

Your call, Marc Bergevin.

Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

Joni Ortio
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Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.