Emerson Etem has been a scorer in the past, with the Medicine Hat Tigers in junior, and a solid point producer in the American Hockey League as well.
Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning is hoping that same speed and skill Etem has shown in previous years — and at times in the NHL — can translate into a much needed offensive threat in Vancouver.
The Canucks acquired Etem from the New York Rangers on Friday in exchange for Nicklas Jensen, a former first-round pick that saw more and more prospects in Vancouver’s system surpass him over the last two years.
In 2011-12, Etem scored 61 goals and 107 points in 65 games for the Tigers after he had been taken late in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
In his second full season in the AHL, Etem produced at better than a point-per-game rate. He hasn’t come close to producing those same lofty numbers in the NHL — in 131 career games and he was without a goal in 19 games in New York prior to the deal — but Benning clearly sees potential for that to change with the Canucks.
“He’s a guy that is going to bring us speed and he’s got strength to get to the net,” Benning told TSN 1040 on Friday.
“He’s proven he can score in the past and so I expect him, when he comes in here and gets his confidence, to be a scorer for us.”
Benning believed a fresh start could also benefit Jensen, who opened eyes for at least a couple of weeks with three goals and six points in 17 games with the Canucks on a recall in 2013-14. He had been playing for the AHL’s Utica Comets and will stay in the minors — for now, anyway.