The Anaheim Ducks will have a different look up front on Thursday night against the Rangers.
Dustin Penner, a healthy scratch for the season opener, will skate on the club’s top line alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf while Emerson Etem — the club’s first-round pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — will make his regular season debut.
Etem, 21, missed the first three games of the season with a lower-body injury. It’s unclear where he’ll fit into the lineup — he had good success during last year’s opening playoff round with Kyle Palmieri, but Palmieri is currently out with an upper-body ailment.
As for Penner, well, he’s worked his way back onto the top unit.
The burly winger has an assist and a plus-3 rating over the last few games, good enough to get him back on a line with Perry and Getzlaf.
“We feel he’s ready to play there,” head coach Bruce Boudreau told the team website. “He was the guy we signed to be in that position, and we feel he’s ready now. He’s done a lot by himself. I don’t think he liked sitting out or doing a lot of extra skating.
“He’s worked really hard to get where he is. Hopefully, he’ll play really well tonight.”
Penner, 31, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Ducks this past summer, reuniting the “Kid Line” of himself, Getzlaf and Perry — one that to prominence during the 2006-07 season and was a driving force behind the first and only Stanley Cup in franchise history.
That year, Penner scored a career-high 29 goals and emerged as a budding star power forward, leading to him signing a five-year, $21.25 million offer sheet with Edmonton.