Ducks send Etem back to AHL; Boudreau: ‘It’s not easy for a young guy to make our team’

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The Anaheim Ducks sent promising forward Emerson Etem back to the minors on Tuesday and, to hear Bruce Boudreau explain it, the decision was less about the player and more about the roster he was trying to crack.

“We’re a good team,” Boudreau said, as per Ducks color analyst Dan Wood. “It’s not easy for a young guy to make our team.”

Etem, the club’s first-round pick (29th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has six goals and 10 points in 26 games this year, and is averaging over 13 minutes per contest. He’s one of Anaheim’s fastest skaters and figures prominently on the penalty kill (which, admittedly, isn’t great, ranking 21st in the NHL at 81.1 percent.)

He’s already been sent down to Norfolk once this season — scoring five points in three games for the Admirals — but that stint was brief, and it’ll be interesting how long this current one lasts.

The Ducks are slowly getting healthy, with Mathieu Perreault set to return this weekend and Jakob Silfverberg “getting closer and closer,” according to Boudreau.