The Arizona Coyotes placed Emerson Etem on unconditional waivers on Sunday, and today officially announced that they had terminated his contract according to Craig Morgan of AZ Sports. Etem had informed the team that he didn’t want to continue playing in the AHL, and is now looking at other options to continue his playing career.
Etem, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Coyotes this summer and has played 16 games for the Tucson Roadrunners this year recording just five points. That’s a long way from the first-round, top prospect status he held when drafted by the Anaheim Ducks 29th-overall in 2010. Etem never did fulfill that promise for Anahiem, though there were certainly flashes. In 2013-14 he scored 11 points in 29 games for the Ducks, while leading their AHL affiliate with 54 points in 50 contests. In 173 career NHL games, the winger has 46 points.
He’ll now likely look at Europe or the KHL, but there is another interesting opportunity that could arise. USA Hockey could potentially look at Etem as a late addition to the Olympic team if they deem him still fit enough to compete on the international stage. A native Californian, he was once a star in the US Development Program and participated in two World Junior tournaments, taking home a bronze medal. Team USA revealed their roster at yesterday’s Winter Classic, but could still make changes up to the February tournament.